×

Lucky Red takes Toei Animation’s ‘Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary’ for Italy

Acquisition builds on Italo distrib’s successful release of Toei Animation's ‘Space Pirate Captain Harlock’

MADRID – Lucky Red, one of Italy’s leading independent distributors, has acquired theatrical, TV and DVD rights to Toei Animation’s “Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary,” one of the biggest world premieres at this year’s Annecy Animation Film Festival.

More European titles are under negotiations. Based on the iconic manga and TV series, both first appearing in 1986, “Saint Seiya” has since inspired new TV series, such as 2002’s “The Hades Chapter,” 2012’s “Saint Seiya Omega.”

The original TV series was broadcast in over 80 countries, while the manga series sold 34 million copies, per Toei Animation’s June newsletter. Toei Animation has produced five “Saint Seiya” movies. Helmed by character designer and animation director Keiichi Sato and produced by Masami Kurumada, the manga’s original writer and illustrator, “Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary” is its first CGI feature film.

To see its first commercial release in Japan on June 21, “Saint Seiya” turns on a young woman, Saori Kido (voiced by Japanese idol singer Ayaka Sasaki) who is saved from an assassin by Pegasus Seiya (voice actor Kaito Ishikawa), a Bronze Saint. Learning she is Goddess Athena, with Seiya and his fellow Bronze Saints she heads to the Sanctuary to wage war against its Pope, who once more threatens the world.

Lucky Red is best known for its distribution of art films with crossover potential, such as “Yves Saint Laurent,” ($726,355 this year) or upscale mainstream movies, such “Inside Llewyn Davis ($3.0 million).

But Lucky Red has also released and re-released all of Studio Ghibli’s movies in Italy since 2004. Expanding its relations with Japan, on Jan. 1, Lucky Red bowed Toei Animation’s “Space Pirate Captain Harlock,” helmed by Shinji Aramaki and, like “Saint Seiya,” another celebrated manga-turned-Toei-cartoon, to a standout early 2014 $6.7 million in Italy, the third best result in 2014 for a non-Hollywood studio or non-Italian title.

Toei’s 1978 TV series version of “Space Pirate Captain Harlock” broadcast in Italy.

Gaumont’s live-action movie “Belle and Sebastien,” the highest grossing non-studio/Italian title of this year with a $9.5 million trawl, also saw an earlier anime series, ”Meiken Jolie,” which ran on Italian TV in 1981, creating a present-day nostalgia for the property.

“Following the relationship we built with Toei, it was very natural to release ‘Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary,’ another Toei film based on a TV series hit in Italy,” said Stefano Massenzi, Lucky Red’s acquisitions head.

Lucky Red will bow “Saint Seiya” theatrically in Italy in the late fall on over 200 screens, backed by event promotion, he added.

““We’re targeting broad cinema audiences. There is a big P & A investment because you’re going mainstream,” said Massenzi, adding that “Space Pirate Captain Harlock” played to family audiences, whose parents felt nostalgic about the TV series while also attracting younger auds.

“You need a combination of both audiences to make those numbers.”

Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report

More Film

  • Chinese actor Xu Zheng holds his

    Golden Horse Organizers Set Clashing Date With China's Golden Rooster Awards

    The prestigious Golden Horse Awards announced Wednesday that it will hold its annual ceremony in Taiwan on the same day this year as China’s Communist-backed Golden Rooster Awards – which virtually assures that no major mainland Chinese talent will attend the event known as Asia’s Oscars on November 23. Hong Kong director Johnnie To will [...]

  • Berlin Film Festival Placeholder Berlinale

    Key Berlin Film Festival Venue Set to Close - or Is It?

    The announcement that German exhibitor CineStar would close its multiplex at Berlin’s famed Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz has thrown the cinema’s participation as a key venue for the Berlin Film Festival into doubt. Whether it actually shutters, however, remains to be seen. British-based Vue International is awaiting approval from German antitrust officials on its [...]

  • Stuber

    ‘Stuber’ 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, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Stuber.” Ads placed for the comedy had an estimated media value of $4.91 million through Sunday for 1,325 national ad airings on 42 networks. [...]

  • BTS - J-Hope, V, Jungkook, Jimin,

    BTS' 'Bring the Soul: The Movie' Gets Global Theatrical Release

    BTS will be back on the big screen this summer. The Korean pop group announced today that their latest feature film, “Bring the Soul: The Movie,” will have a global release on August 7. It arrives just six and a half months after the septet’s last film release, “Love Yourself in Seoul.” “Bring the Soul” [...]

  • Box Office: 'Yesterday' Movie Takes on

    Box Office: 'Annabelle Comes Home' and 'Yesterday' Take on 'Toy Story 4'

    The weekend box office has gone to the dolls. “Annabelle Comes Home,” a supernatural horror film about a possessed toy, is facing off against another band of plastic figurines: “Toy Story 4.” Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” is expected to dominate box office charts again over newcomers “Annabelle Comes Home” and “Yesterday,” a fantasy musical set [...]

  • 'The Current War' Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch,

    Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicholas Hoult Feud in 'The Current War' Trailer (Watch)

    101 Studios has released an official new trailer for the Martin Scorcese-produced thriller, “The Current War,”  offering a glimpse into the dramatic 19th century battle over electricity that became known as the “war of the currents.” The film, which is a dramatization of real-life events, will follow the tumultuous journey of Thomas Edison, played by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content