Leading Japanese distributor and exhibitor Toho is to enter the DVD rental market with the release of Ridley Scott's Hannibal on November 9. The company will join rivals Toei and Shochiku, which are already competing in the rental DVD business.
The Hannibal double set will contain both the 131-minute theatrical version and a 218-minute director's cut, with 41 minutes of unreleased material, together with special behind-the-scenes reports and exclusive interviews with cast and crew.
Distributed theatrically by Gaga Communications, Hannibal has grossed $38.6m (Y4.6bn) in two months since opening on April 8 on 320 screens nationwide.
Toho plans to market rental DVDs to the 6,300 dealers who are members of the Japan Video Software Association (JVSA) at $84 (Y10,000) per unit, the same price set by Toei and Shochiku. The company will also use a revenue-sharing scheme under which it will receive a percentage of the revenue from each DVD rental, as well as a handling fee of about $25 (Y3000) per DVD unit. Toho will use a third party to track revenues from rental DVDs and collect them after two years. The aim is to discourage the dumping of older DVDs at second-hand shops for half the retail price. Rental stores can choose either payment scheme.