Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) has launched the International Product Expansion Group to coordinate the production and acquisition of overseas titles for global distribution by SPHE.

Based in Culver City, Los Angeles, the group is headed by newly appointed International Product Expansion vice president Tony Ishizuka.

As well as broad operational duties Ishizuka will be responsible for identifying projects for financing and distribution in conjunction with SPHE's international operating territories.

Maxwell Mattord also joins the group as director. The group reports to SPHE's senior vice president T Paul Miller.

'The International Product Expansion Group will leverage the studio's global resources and the relationships that our teams outside North America have with local entertainment producers to increase sales and market share for SPHE's operating territories,' Ishizuka said.

'The goal is to see each local project recoup its investment in the country in which it was produced or acquired,' Miller added. 'We can then assess each title's prospects and leverage our global distribution system in other markets.'

The International Product Expansion Group has already brokered agreements to distribute four anime series produced by Madhouse featuring popular Marvel characters. These series will be broadcast in Japan on the Animax TV network and are to be distributed worldwide by SPHE.