Okinawa International Film Festival

International audience tastes in Japanese movies different to local consumers

TOKYO — The Shochiku studio has revealed a new production initiative aimed specifically at overseas markets.

The plan is to make low-budget ($240,000) ninja pics, since foreign auds have long been familiar with ninja in contrast to more trendy fare. Japanese audiences love films based on hit manga, TV shows or other domestic content, but these have limited international appeal.

The first movie in the new slate, with the working title “Ninja the Monster,” is an actioner in which ninja encounter alien life forms. Shochiku shot the pic at its Uzumasa Studio in Kyoto. Completion is scheduled for August.   

Rival, Nikkatsu tried something similar with its ‘Sushi Typhoon’ slate of low-budget horror and SF/fantasy pics, with launched in 2010. Produced by Yoshinori Chiba, the pics received only limited theatrical screenings in Japan, but played widely on foreign festival circuits, and English-subbed DVDs. Nikkatsu, however, shut Sushi Typhoon in 2011 and has no immediate plans to revive it.     

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