Japanese major Toei studios announced its official return to foreign acquisitions today with the launch of new label Toei Tryangle.
The first release for the label will be 2010 Korean megahit The Man From Nowhere, directed by Lee Jeong-beom and starring Won Bin. Toei picked up rights for the film at last year’s American film market from M-Line Distribution. At the time, the deal marked the first foreign acquisition for Toei in almost 30 years. Toei opens The Man From Nowhere in Japan on September 17.
Tryangle’s second offering will be Jackie Chan’s $30 million historical epic 1911, set to open on November 5. The Tokyo International Film Festival (October 22-30) announced yesterday that 1911 would share opening film slot with the previously announced The Three Musketeers.
In the 1970s and 1980s Toei was known for releasing many of Chan’s earlier films as well as Bruce Lee’s Way Of The Dragon. The studio stopped acquiring foreign titles for theatrical release in the early 80s when the home video boom began. Toei hopes Tryangle’s return to releasing major Asian titles will stimulate the Japanese market and deepen relationships in the region. The company has not stated its plans regarding acqusitions from outside of the continent.
In recent years the number of buyers and buying power has dwindled in the Japanese market, particularly among small-medium distributors of foreign films. Toei is touting its long history, well-developed international relationships and domestic distribution-exhibition network to make Tryangle a success. The company is currently celebrating its 60th year in business.
Tryangle will be run from within the company’s existing international sales and purchasing department under director Hideo Suzuki, acting director Masahiro Kimura, deputy director Yasuhiko Nakajima and manager Tadayuki Okubo.