Nikkatsu Corp will open an international office in Los Angeles in mid-April under the name Nikkatsu Pictures International (NPI).

Nikkatsu has invested $500,000 of capital to establish NPI, as part of a strategy to position itself at the global film industry's front lines.

NPI will focus on strengthening Nikkatsu's international sales and acquisitions. In addition, NPI has entered a partnership with US-based Action5 Inc, which specialises in acquisitions of foreign projects for the Japanese market.

One of Japan's oldest film companies, Nikkatsu sees strong opportunities in Hollywood's interest in anime, manga and J-horror properties, as well as the increased participation of Japanese talent in front of and behind US cameras.

Nikkatsu president Naoki Sato's producing credits include the first two films in the One Missed Call series, currently being remade in Hollywood and slated for a January 2008 release. NPI hopes to leverage its vast library and future properties for potential US remakes and distribution as well as engage in co-productions.

The establishment of NPI is one of several announcements Nikkatsu has made at the start of its fiscal year this April. Nikkatsu unveiled a slate of 16 productions for 2007 and 2008, including live-action adaptations of the Gatchaman (known as G-Force overseas) and Yatterman animation franchises. The latter is to be helmed by director Takashi Miike.

Nikkatsu became a wholly owned subsidiary of contents conglomerate Index Corp in September 2005. Index also has holdings in Madhouse Animation.