ShoWest hails Matsuoka, Toho


Toho Co. chairman Isao Matsuoka will be honored with the ShoWest International Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual film industry convention set for March 12-15 at the Bally's and Paris hotels in Las Vegas.

The award, to be presented March 12 at the International Day Luncheon, is given to companies that distinguish themselves in the international exhibition arena.

"Matsuoka and Toho Co. continue to raise the standards of excellence when it comes to providing the highest quality of business from its repertoire of film production and exhibition to film programming and live theater production in Japan," ShoWest co-managing director Mitch Neuhauser said.

Matsuoka, who joined Toho in 1957, has been its chairman since 1995. He is credited with helping to establish Toho as the No. 1 film production, distribution, exhibition and live theater production company in Japan.

In 1977, when he was promoted to president, Matsuoka revolutionized the company, creating its film programming department and consolidating that division with the company's marketing, distribution and exhibition departments to streamline the film business and maximize revenue.

Established in 1932, Toho is known for its Godzilla franchise. Toho also is one of the major producers and exhibitors of live theater production in Japan, where it pioneered the introduction of Broadway and West End musicals to the Japanese audience, beginning with "My Fair Lady" in 1963.

In October, Toho's film exhibition department consolidated with TOHO Cinemas Ltd., formerly Virgin Cinemas Japan, which it purchased in 2003 from Virgin Group of Great Britain. Toho plans to further consolidate its four other local film exhibition companies with TOHO Cinemas. Toho also is renovating its studios and postproduction facilities.

ShoWest is managed by Nielsen Business Media, parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.