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Anime Studios Explore Profit-Sharing, Hollywood Remakes

posted on 2007-05-17 09:18 EDT
Talent drain, stagnant DVD sales forcing studios to consider innovative partnerships and arrangements

As the anime industry in Japan faces challenges from stagnating DVD sales both at home and abroad, Variety reports that two of the industry's most well-known production companies, Madhouse Studios and Production I.G, are pitching live-action remakes of some of their anime to Hollywood. According to the article, negotiations are underway with leading American movie studios for rights to adapt two Mad House titles and I.G's Ghost in the Shell. According to a Mad House executive, efforts like these are an attempt to give American fans "stories that U.S. audiences can connect to," without necessarily pandering to audience tastes.

At the same time, other anime producers are responding to the situation by developing innovative financing arrangements. For their upcoming Ex Machina sequel to the Appleseed movie, Micott & Basara, US-based Axis Entertainment, and Hong Kong's Lion Rock Productions has established a profit-sharing plan with the animation studios working on the project instead of upfront fees. Studio 4°C's version of profit-sharing will distribute the proceeds from the upcoming Genius Party anthology anime between the seven creators that worked on its individual segments. According to 4°C producer Yukie Saeki, the anthology format itself is a way to ensure high-quality work, since it creates a sense of competition between the participating directors.

The article also reports that as animators' wages have remained low, Japanese anime studios are increasingly losing talented staff to video game companies. At the same time, the continuing trend of outsourcing production work to South Korea and China to cut down costs has lowered the quality of anime.

Source: Variety


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