“As a strategic first step to expanding and strengthening the global operations, Toho will be committed to the intellectual property it represents by connecting it to adaptation opportunities and financing its production,” the company said in a statement. “Toho intends to grow the business and bolster the presence of Japanese IP.”
It has appointed existing Toho executives, director, Hiroyasu Matsuoka to oversee the division and Yukio Kotaki as general manager.
Toho’s international sales business has to date largely focused on licensing its motion picture, animation and character properties.
The new emphasis on making its entertainment properties go further reflects the government’s drive to export Japanese culture further, efforts by other companies with Japanese IP, and Toho’s 83-year film industry legacy and its strong finances.
Toho is internationally best known for its 28 film “Godzilla” series. The franchise last year saw Warner Bros release a Hollywood remake, directed by Gareth Edwards, which grossed $529 million worldwide. That in turn has given rise to another now-in-development Warner sequel and caused Toho to revive plans for its own Godzilla, to be directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, and released in 2016.
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The policy takes immediate effect and will see the new team make their market debut next month in Cannes.