Revenue: $1.062 billion
Profit: $81 million
Japan’s diversified Toei Co., whose core businesses are film production, distribution and exhibition, delivered a real bonanza for its shareholders in the last financial year.
Net profits multiplied nearly 11-fold over the prior year. Part of the money rush was due to the October public offering of Asahi National Broadcasting Co., in which Toei is the second-largest shareholder (after Asahi Shimbun Publishing Co.), with slightly more than a 16% stake.
More controversial but nevertheless immensely profitable was the release in 2000 of the film “Battle Royale,” which was heavily criticized for its violent content. It made $25 million at the Japan B.O. and $1.2 million in Hong Kong.
This year has yielded another big B.O. success: The meller “Hotaru” (Firefly) raked in close to $16 million during its first eight weeks of wide release.
Toei’s spring and summer holiday animation fairs remain steady sources of income, while the release this month of Samurai drama “Aka-Kage” (Red Shadow) is expected to do boffo biz.
But the overall financial forecast isn’t so rosy. Revenues are expected to dip considerably in Toei’s tourism division, which also runs seven hotels nationwide, due to sluggish biz. And lagging cinema attendance and flat business at subsid Toei Animation Co. has the group predicting lower net profits of about $27 million for the current financial year.