Joe Roth's Revolution Studios has sealed two separate studio deals for distribution of its 2003 slate in Japan. Universal Pictures has taken theatrical and TV rights to six films kicking off with Jennifer Lopez hit Maid In Manhattan, while Buena Vista International (BVI) has taken three films kicking off with Tears Of The Sun starring Bruce Willis. Revolution's worldwide partner Sony Pictures Entertainment will handle home video and DVD rights in Japan.
The new deals follow the dissolution of the double-headed arrangement between Revolution and Toho-Towa (theatrical and TV) and Pony Canyon (home video) in Japan which was struck on Revolution's behalf by Spyglass Entertainment in May 2000.
"As we move forward, we are going to deal with movies in groups of films," Revolution partner Rob Moore told Screen yesterday. "Japan is a tough market with tremendous upside and we decided that the better way to go was with companies we have easier communication with. We are co-producing Peter Pan with Universal and we have extensive experience with BVI from our Disney days, so it makes it easier for us." Moore and third partner Todd Garner both came from Disney to join their former boss Roth in Revolution which has produced a number of hit films in its short existence including Black Hawk Down, America's Sweethearts and Punch Drunk Love.
In addition to Maid In Manhattan, Universal has taken Daddy Day Care with Eddie Murphy, Anger Management with Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler, Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts, 13 Going On 30 with Jennifer Garner and The Last Ride directed by Ron Howard and starring
BVI has bought Tears Of The Sun, Hollywood Homicide with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett and Gigli starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.
Universal has set a May 10 release date in Japan for Maid In Manhattan which it has booked into the Toho/Hibiya circuit. International chief Randy Greenberg said that, while Lopez has yet to have a hit in Japan (Her biggest to date is Out Of Sight with $3.4m), her star status is rising with each movie and her pop career has given her strong visibility in the market. He added that he was negotiating to take Lopez and co-star Ralph Fiennes on a trip to Japan to help promote the film.
"We have plenty of product," said Greenberg, "but when an opportunity arises like this deal with Revolution, we work out whether it makes sense for us. In this case it does. We already have a good relationship with Revolution through Peter Pan and this is good product."