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‘Godzilla’ Owner Toho Poised for Expansion in Hollywood

Patrick Frater

Toho, the largest movie group in Japan, is expanding a subsidiary in the U.S. with a view to working more with Hollywood.

The company said that its existing Toho International Inc. subsidiary has been injected with $14 million (JPY15.4 billion), through a share issue subscribed to by the parent company. The subsidiary has existed since 1953. It has made some property investments in the past, but recently has been largely dormant.

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Toho has provided few solid details, though revealed that Hiroyasu Matsuoka, currently in charge of Toho’s movie and TV content sales and its international businesses, will be the unit’s representative director. It also said that the move is part of its “Toho Vision 2021 Medium-term Management Strategy,” a strategic plan that it laid out last year.

According to Toho’s website, the Vision 2021 Plan lays out operational goals that the company describes as a content strategy, a platform strategy, and a real estate strategy. It also sets a goal of beating JPY50 billion profits.

The Los Angeles move appears related to a so-called breakthrough strategy also described within the Vision 2021 plan. This foresees an enhanced character business centered on Toho’s iconic Godzilla creation, and an accelerated international strategy. “We will work toward the full implementation of JAPAN IP (Japanese entertainment content by Toho and others) on a global scale,” it says.

Japanese-language websites have reported that Legendary Entertainment’s license to use the Godzilla IP will soon expire. But Legendary retains the rights as long as it continues to make Godzilla films.

Toho is an investor in Legendary’s “Godzilla: King of Monsters,” which is due for a late May release through Warner Bros., and also in Legendary’s “Pokemon Detective Pikachu,” which releases worldwide from early next month.

The company’s name has also been linked to the 2020 film “Monster Hunters,” based on a Capcom game, and to Bad Robot’s live action remake of Japanese hit “Your Name.”

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