Paramount officially opens Japan office


TOKYO -- Paramount Pictures marked the opening of its Japan distribution office Thursday with the ceremonial cracking open of barrels of sake at a hotel in the Ebisu district of Tokyo.

The Japanese office of the movie giant opened Jan. 1, according to Andrew Cripps, head of Paramount Pictures International, the latest move in the company's ambitious expansion plans.

"For Paramount today, this is important for two reasons," Cripps told key members of Japan's movie industry. "This is the first new office as we expand our distribution footprint around the world and it is wonderful to see that come to fruition here today. Secondly, this is important for Paramount because Japan represents one of the biggest -- if not the biggest -- market into which we can participate and we can now be confident of our marketing as we go forward."

Based in London and only established 13 months ago, Paramount's new international arm will open offices in Spain and Germany later this year and has released 38 films internationally since its debut, Cripps said, led by "Shrek the Third" and "Transformers."

The company has high hopes for the coming year, he added, with the imminent release in Japan of "Cloverfield" and "No Country for Old Men." Even more is expected of the new Indiana Jones movie when it is released in Japan on June 21.

"We are looking to be market leaders and innovators and to bring our full expertise to bear whenever we release a film and we look forward to working with you in the future," Cripps said in a message to Paramount's exhibition partners in Japan.