Japan

Toho

2008 B.O.: $330.4 million (through July)

TOPPERS: Hideyuki Takai, prexy; Isao Matsuoka, chair; Satoshi Senda, general manager, film

UP NEXT: “Paco and the Magic Book” (9/13), “Ikigami” (9/27), “Homeless Junior High Schooler” (10/25), “Happy Flight” (11/15), “I Want to Be a Clam” (11/22)

Toho, like its signature character Godzilla, tromps the local competition. And no one has yet figured out a way to drive off of its top B.O. perch (nine of the 10 biggest domestic B.O. hits in 2007), let alone into the ocean.

Toho’s basic corporate strategy has not changed in decades: It focuses on its three main businesses of distribution, exhibition (pics and legit) and real estate management while sourcing pics from outside producers to limit risk. Strong ties with TV networks generate the vast majority of B.O. hits.

Having control of the largest exhibition chain in the country — 535 screens, many in prime downtown locations — also puts Toho in a commanding position vis a vis competitors.

Instead of resting on its considerable laurels, Toho has recently completed a five-year renovation and expansion of its studio in the Tokyo suburb of Seijo Gakuen. It also announced the redevelopment of the historic Koma Theater and neighboring Toho Theater in Shinjuku — a major Tokyo entertainment center.

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