Kadokawa Daiei Studio
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Kadokawa Daiei Studio, formerly Kadokawa Pictures Inc. (角川映画株式会社 Kadokawa Eiga Kabushiki-gaisha) is the film division of Japanese company Kadokawa Corporation. It is a member of the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (MPPAJ), and is one of Japan's Big Four film studios.
|Founded||January 4, 2007|
|Headquarters||1-8-19 Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8078|
(President and CEO)
|Total equity||¥250 million|
In 1975, Kadokawa's president, Haruki Kadokawa decided to venture into the film business, launching the film division of Kadokawa Shoten, thus Kadokawa Pictures was born. His goal was to try to reap synergy benefits by creating film adaptations of the publishing house's most popular books and marketing them simultaneously. The company's first film was the 1976 release The Inugamis, directed by Kon Ichikawa and adapted from a Kadokawa Shoten published novel written by Seishi Yokomizo. Due to an aggressive marketing campaign, the film ended as the second-largest earner of the year in Japan.
Between 1976 and 1993, Kadokawa produced close to 60 films. The company's pictures were usually large-scale epics with sizable budgets and matching advertising campaigns, aimed for mass audiences and box-office success. While critics weren't always kind on Kadokawa's works, the films were consistently popular among the viewing public. By 1992, 7 out of top 20 all-time highest box-office grossing Japanese films were Kadokawa's productions. During his time at Kadokawa Shoten, Haruki Kadokawa was often hailed as the savior of Japan's struggling film industry. Kadokawa's efforts to branch into foreign markets were consistently less successful. Its biggest failure came in 1992 when the 25 million US$ film Ruby Cairo, starring Andie MacDowell, failed to find a distributor in the United States. Haruki Kadokawa was forced to resign from Kadokawa Shoten after being arrested for smuggling cocaine. The new president was Haruki's younger brother Tsuguhiko, who had previously been forced out of the company in favor of Haruki's son Taro.
Kadokawa Shoten later acquired Daiei Film Co. from Tokuma Shoten following the passing of its president, Yasuyoshi Tokuma. In November 2002, Chairman Maihiko Kadokawa announced that Daiei Film Co. would merge with the company's own film division to form Kadokawa-Daiei Film Co., Ltd.
In March 2004, Kadokawa-Daiei Pictures Inc. acquired a 44% stake in Nippon Herald Films Inc., an independent film distributor founded in 1956, and acquired the remaining 56% stake the following year. It later changed its name to Kadokawa Pictures.
On March 1, 2006, it merged with the Kadokawa Herald to become Kadokawa Herald Pictures Inc. and later Kadokawa Pictures. In 2007, it changed its name to Kadokawa Shoten Pictures, with Shinichiro Inoue as its President and CEO.
After a merger with Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co. in 2011, it became the studio division of its parent company, Kadokawa Group Holdings Ltd. and maintained its name, Kadokawa Pictures, focusing on mixed-media business.
After the friendly acquisition in 2004, Kadokawa Pictures quickly went to work on several projects. It approached Toho Company Ltd. about co-producing Godzilla vs. Gamera in 2002, but the offer was rejected, so it turned its attention to reviving some of the combined studio's best-known properties since the Daiei Film Co. era. 2005 saw successful releases for both Masaaki Tezuka's Samurai Commando: Mission 1,549 (Sengoku Jieitai 1,549) and Takashi Miike’s The Great Yokai War (Yokai Daisenso). As these two films opened in Japan, it revealed that the studio would begin shooting the 12th Gamera film in July 2005.
Five of their original eight Gamera films were mocked (twice) on Mystery Science Theater 3000. According to Shout! Factory, because of this, they were horrified by the mockery and refused to let Shout! release the MST3K versions on home video. Brian Ward (one of the members of Shout!) even stated in his own words that "The Japanese just aren't into their man-in-suit flicks being parodied or mocked in any way." However, thanks to Kadokawa selling the rights to a U.S. company (also according to Brian Ward), all five episodes were released by Shout! Factory on August 2, 2011.
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- Mark Schilling (1997). The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture. Weatherhill. ISBN 978-0-8348-0380-0.
- "Kadokawa Company History 1976(S51)" (in Japanese). Retrieved December 30, 2011.
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- "Kadokawa Company History 2004(H16)" (in Japanese). Retrieved December 30, 2011.
- "Kadokawa Company History 2006(H18)" (in Japanese). Retrieved December 30, 2011.
- "Kadokawa Company History 2007(H19)" (in Japanese). Retrieved December 30, 2011.
- "Kadokawa Pictures About page" (in Japanese). Retrieved December 30, 2011.
- "Our Theory of Evolution" (pdf). Kadokawa Group Holdings, Inc. March 31, 2011. Retrieved December 30, 2011.