Warner Bros. Pictures and the TV Asahi network will jointly distribute Nanni Moretti's The Son's Room in Japan in a deal that is a first for the Japanese market.
According the terms of the partnership, the two companies will split p&a costs and share film distribution and video sales revenues. Warner will handle prints and deal with exhibitors, while TV Asahi will advertise the film on its 26 affiliates throughout Japan.
Warner plans to release the film in January and predicts a $4.7m (Y600m) box office gross - far above the average for even a successful European arthouse release.
Warner enjoyed a bumper 2001 in Japan - Harry Potter grossed $12.8m (Y1.57bn) in its first two days on release, breaking Star Wars Episode 1's record $12.2m (Y1.5bn). The film also recorded 1.38 million admissions over its opening weekend, beating, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence's 1.01 million. A.I. has now achieved 7.2 million admissions and Harry Potter is expected to do even better.
The fourth largest of Japan's five major networks, TV Asahi listed its shares on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in October. In the first half of the 2001 fiscal year, ending in September, group sales rose 2% to $897m (Y114.8bn), while consolidated pretax profit rose 1% to $80m (Y10.2bn).