Toho-Towa, Uni in distrib'n deal


Universal Pictures has entered into an agreement with Japanese film distributor Toho-Towa to distribute Universal's films in the Japanese market. The deal, which will become effective in the summer, will allow Universal to exit its current distribution agreement with UIP Japan this year.

"We are extremely pleased to be in business with Toho-Towa, who will be invested in the success of our slate of films in Japan," Universal Pictures International president David Kosse said. "We look forward to building our successful presence in this key strategic market through our new partnership."

The deal follows Universal and former UIP partner Paramount's decision to assume sole ownership and operation of their distribution operations in certain countries where they had previously distributed films through the UIP joint venture. Japan was one of the countries where the restructured UIP was to have continued to oversee direct distribution of feature films. As a result of Universal's deal with Toho-Towa, UIP Japan will only distribute product from Paramount Pictures.

Said Hisanori Hiranuma, president of Toho-Towa, "We are very honored to handle the theatrical distribution of Universal's films in Japan and are fully committed to their successful release."

Founded in 1928, Toho-Towa has presented international movies in Japan for more than 75 years. Toho-Towa is a subsidiary of Toho Company Ltd., the Japanese entertainment company whose operations span film production, distribution and exhibition as well as television, video, music and stage. It owns and operates Japan's largest cinema circuit.