Hollywood producers Don Murphy, Roy Lee (pictured) and Jason Hoffs gave advice on bridging the gap between the US and Japanese content industries at a seminar about adapting Japanese IP on Wednesday (November 3).

The three producers all focus on turning Japanese and Asian manga, anime and other properties into Hollywood films. Lee’s Vertigo produced The Ring remake and is developing remakes such as Old Boy with Mandate Pictures. Murphy is a producer on the Transformers franchise and Hoffs is head of production at VIZ Media, the largest publisher of manga in the US.

Although the US and Japan are becoming more accustomed to working together, the producers said the biggest problems include the different legal structures and the time it takes to close deals.

“It can take one to two years – the process of going through [Japan’s production] committees and getting approvals is the biggest complaint,” said Lee. “However it’s getting better because now we can use the templates of prior deals.”

Hoffs observed that the concept of reversion costs – ie the recoupment of costs to the original buyer if a second party buys the property – is relatively unknown in Japan. “We worked out a clause where if the budget is under a certain level, there are no reversion costs and everyone was happy,” said Hoffs. “That has been a big hang-up for Japanese rights owners.”

The seminar was organised by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) as part of its push to make content one of Japan’s top five export industries. JETRO executive VP Tokuyuki Sudo said the aim is to triple global sales of Japanese content from $8.6bn in 2010 to $28bn in 2020.