Japanese major Shochiku has officially opened its upgraded and expanded Shochiku Kyoto Studios, which the company describes as a 'one stop total film management package'.

In addition to improvements made to the original six studios and outside set, first opened in 1946, two new high-ceiling 500 square-metre (5,381 square-foot) studio spaces have been constructed.

Housed in the newly opened main building, Shochiku Kyoto Studios' post-production facilities were established in affiliation with market leader Imagica Group, dubbed 'Imagica West'. State-of-the-art sound studios and screening halls equipped with 4K projection units aim to attract industry business.

Also new on the lot are academic facilities founded in partnership with Ritsumei- kan University and Kyoto Prefecture to develop human resources and foster film education.

The city of Kyoto itself offers traditional and natural Japanese locations that Shochiku hopes is an additional draw to the studio, where films such as Gohatto, The Twilight Samurai and Kitaro have been shot.

Other majors are also investing heavily in upgrades. As previously reported on Screendaily.com, Toei is spending $50m on the construction of its new digital studio facilities, slated for completely in May of 2010. Toho is currently converting its cinemas to digital projection and partnering with communications giant NTT enable digital distribution of its contents.

As a distributor, Shochiku is currently enjoying great success with Oscar-winning film Departures, which is currently third at the box office in its 26th week of release and is closing in on earnings of $50m.

Shochiku is also co-distributing the current number one film, Takashi Miike's Yatterman, with Nikkatsu.