Japanese foreign film distributor Wise Policy has closed its doors after filing for bankruptcy last month.
Wise Policy filed bankruptcy papers with a local Tokyo court on April 16, with closure proceedings beginning on April 22. Local industry trades announced the shuttering of the veteran speciality distributor following the Golden Week holiday last week.
The bankruptcy follows rumours of the company having difficulty raising funds to make payments in recent years. At the time of filing, Wise Policy was in arrears to 186 creditors for a total of $6.37m (Y622m).
Wise Policy was launched in 1997 under the name Cinema Parisien as a distributor of French and European films. The company changed its name to Wise Policy in 2004. Releases included James Ivory’s The Golden Bowl,Ethan Hawke’s Chelsea Walls, Brokeback Mountain, Woody Allen’s Scoop and The Assassination Of Richard Nixon.
Wise Policy’s last major acquistion was Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, released in February last year and earning $2.34m in the territory. The future of films set for release this year, including Becoming Jane, is uncertain.
The company was also involved in foreign co-productions such as Patrice Leconte’s Love Street and Amos Kollek’s Bridget. It made its first foray into independent production with 2006’s Water, novelist Shoichi Yoshida’s directorial debut.
The closure is seen as symptomatic of the decline in foreign film revenues in the territory. Admissions to standalone arthouse and specialty cinemas have also fallen.
Wise Policy’s demise has sparked fears of a string of bankruptcies for similar sized companies.