Japan earthquake ripples through biz

Distrib Shochiku mulls canceling 'Aftershock' opening

TOKYO — The Japan biz has been badly rocked by today’s quake and tsunami, which have affected everyone from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south.

Distrib Shochiku said that it is considering delaying or canceling the skedded March 26 opening of the Chinese earthquake pic “Aftershock,” based on an actual quake that struck China in 1976. The company had earlier said it was going ahead with the release despite the Feb. 23 New Zealand quake.

Shochiku was planning to use the pic’s opening to raise money for the NZ victims, but now that disaster has hit closer to home it is reconsidering yet again.

A special “Aftershock” screening was skedded for Friday evening at Tokyo’s Kudan Hall, but today the hall’s roof collapsed, causing at least one death and several severe injuries. The event has since been canceled.

Also a theater event skedded for Friday in Tokyo to celebrate the opening of the local thriller “SP,” with star Junichi Okada greeting fans from the stage, was cancelled. An opening event for the Disney toon “Tangled” skedded for Saturday and for the sci-fi pic “FlashForward” set for Sunday have similarly been scratched.

Many other entertainment events skedded for Friday and this weekend in Tokyo and elsewhere have been put on hold because of the quake.

New York Post travel writer David Landsel tweeted from inside Tokyo Disney Resort, describing how the entry plaza at DisneySea “turned into a tent city” as stranded people waited to board trains. As the visitors tried to make themselves comfortable overnight in the park, Landsel made light of the situation, tweeting “anyone who ever wanted to run around a Disney park all night, uninhibited, has their chance now.”

The Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. announced it will keep its two amusement parks in Japan closed for about 10 days, as word came that the parks had become a tent city for guests stranded by the massive earthquake.

And a Disney cruise ship, the Disney Wonder, cancelled a port visit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, this weekend because of tsunami warnings along the entire North America west coast, a park official said.

Minor injuries were reported at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea as the magnitude 9.0 quake shook the area. The parks are on a peninsula in Tokyo Bay, far away from where severe damage occurred.

“Cast members at the Tokyo Disney resort are providing humanitarian aid in the form of blankets, food and water for the guests who are still at the resort due to the transportation challenges that associated with the quake,” wrote Disney social media director Thomas Smith in a company blog.

New York Post travel writer David Landsel, tweeting from inside Disney Sea, said that park was full of people stuck because the Tokyo transit systems had stopped running. Snow was falling and people were cold, others reported.