TOKYO — Former Warner Entertainment Japan CEO William Ireton will receive the “Golden Gross” Special Recognition Award from the Japan Association of Theatre Owners.
The ceremony for the award, which recognizes Ireton’s contributions to the Japanese film industry over a three-decade executive career, will be held Tuesday at Tokyo’s Grand Takanawa Prince Hotel and is organized by the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren).
Ireton, usually known as ‘Bill,’ joined Warner in 1988 as MD and was appointed CEO in 2006. In charge of all the company’s businesses in Japan, from theatrical distribution and production to television and home entertainment, Ireton oversaw some of Warner’s biggest releases in the Japanese market, including the “Harry Potter” series and the “Matrix” trilogy. On Ireton’s watch “The Last Samurai” and “Letters from Iwo Jima” earned more in Japan than they did in the U.S., while topping the local box office.
Ireton also led a successful local production initiative, scoring a major hit with the “Rurou ni Kenshin” samurai action trilogy, which collectively recorded more than $100 million from releases in 2012 (part one) and 2014 (parts two and three).
Other local films produced under Ireton’s leadership included “Paradise Kiss,” “The Last Chushingura,” “The Straw Shield,” “Kuroshitsuji” and a 2013 remake of the 1992 Clint Eastwood Western “Unforgiven,” with Ken Watanabe starring and Lee Sang-il directing.
After leaving Warner at the beginning of the year, Ireton launched his own production, distribution and consulting unit, Ireton Entertainment, in April.
The company is helping to produce “Hibana,” a drama series for Netflix Japan based on a best-selling novel by comedian Naoki Matayoshi. Also, in October Ireton announced a Japanese distribution deal for Justin Kurzel’s “Macbeth.”