Toho, NTT team up for digital delivery of pics

Osaka theater to be used as test for new distrib'n format

TOKYO — Japan’s top movie exhibitor Toho Co. will team with one of the nation’s largest regional telecom carriers to test a system for delivering digital movies over a fiber-optic network, industry sources said.

Toho will work with NTT West for the digital pic delivery system at Toho’s main theater in Osaka in July, they said.

If the test is successful, it could pave the way for digital movie delivery in Tokyo and Osaka where NTT regional carriers have been laying fiber optic networks and Toho controls some of the most lucrative theater circuits. The test could also be the first step in making digital movies the norm in Japan’s two major movie markets.

Concentrated outlets

Japan can make the jump to digital movie distribution more quickly than the U.S. because of the concentration of its media outlets, fewer theaters, and broad areas covered by its two main local telecom carriers.

With some of the highest per-screen averages in the world, however, the pressure is not as high in Japan as in the U.S. to cut costs by moving toward digital projection.

Toho and NTT West are to spend about $6 million for the tests, and the government may chip in some funds.

Rival Toei Co. has been testing a digital movie distribution system via satellite.

The digital movie market in Japan is in its early stages with one digital theater in Tokyo and a couple of major theaters having digital projection screens. Disney has been at the forefront in digital movies in Japan with three of its films — “Dinosaur,” “Mission to Mars” and “Toy Story 2” — being shown in digital format.

More Film

  • The Great Hack (2019) - pictured:

    Film Review: 'The Great Hack'

    When I was growing up, we learned that the moral cornerstone of the First Amendment — the very essence of it — is that it’s about protecting the speech you don’t like. If the Nazis aren’t allowed to march in Skokie (a major test case in the 1970s), then a treacherous principle gets laid down: that [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Columbia Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Ads placed for the drama had an estimated media value of $5.71 million through Sunday for 997 national ad [...]

  • Circus of Books

    Outfest Film Review: 'Circus of Books'

    Rachel Mason grew up believing that her parents ran a small bookstore in Los Angeles. She wasn’t entirely mistaken, although the naive young woman — then an artsy teen, now a documentary filmmaker — never imagined that, as her mother Karen bluntly tells her on camera, “at one point, we were probably the biggest distributor [...]

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Box Office: Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Takes on 'Lion King'

    Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” will have to take on much more than a changing showbiz landscape. This weekend, the washed-up actor and his majordomo are battling Disney’s juggernaut “The Lion King” at the domestic box office. Tarantino’s R-rated auteur [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content