Triton Pictures confirmed yesterday that it has bought out equity investor Kadokawa Distribution Inc., giving the Los Angeles-based indie increased autonomy as it moves into its fourth year.
The move follows reports of dissension between Haruki Kadokawa and Tsuguhiko Kadokowa — the two brothers who ran the family publishing and movie empire. Triton had an agreement in principle with Kadokawa this summer, and officially finalized terms yesterday.
“For the first time, Triton is more in command of its destiny than ever before,” said company president Jonathan Dana, adding that the deal removes the necessary constraints of equity ownership. “We will certainly be able to move forward faster on movie acquisitions than ever before.”
Dana said Triton is currently exploring its financial options, including possible strategic alliances in 1993. “As with any independent company, we’re interested in expanding our capital base, but we don’t need to be aggressive for the sake of being aggressive,” Dana said.
The Kadokawa buyout comes just under three years after company president Dana and executive veepee Jeff Ivers received Kadokawa’s equity investment as part of Triton’s launch. At the time, Kadokawa was the only company listed as a Triton backer (Daily Variety, Feb. 27, 1990). Dana and Ivers said the company’s recent box office performance contributed to Triton’s ability to complete the deal.
In 1992, Triton scored with a series of indie sleepers, including “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmakers Apocalypse,””Toto le Heroes,””The Hairdresser’s Husband” and “A Brief History of Time.” All four of the movies have grossed over $ 1 million, while its top-grosser, “A Brief History of Time,” has already topped $ 2 million in the box office. “Toto” and “Brief History” both made Time magazine’s Top 10 list. Triton provides North American distribution services for specialized film product, ranging from acting as service agent for producers with financing in place to offering 20% to 50% of completion financing for movies in the $ 1 million to $ 8 million budget range.