Shochiku, Toho and Toei will jointly build and operate thelargest multiplex cinema in Japan.

Construction of the 12-screen, 2,500-seat site will begin in2006 in Osaka, Japan's second-largest city, as part of a new Osaka rail stationcomplex.

The total cost of the project, including renovations of thestation building, is estimated at $1.45 bn (Y150bn) . Shochiku will underwrite50% of the investment, with Toho contributing 30% and Toei the remaining 20%.

The three companies have already partnered in two similarprojects, including a multiplex in Sapporo, on Japan's northernmost island ofHokkaido, that opened in the spring of 2002, and one in Yokohama that will openin the spring of 2007. Also, Shochiku and Toei jointly operate a site in Osakathat opened in 2002.