Variety Asia Talks with Viz Pictures Executives

posted on 2007-09-24 18:49 EDT
Up to nine live-action films for 2008, most based on manga, anime

Variety Asia Online's Kaiju Shakedown blog interviewed Manami Iiboshi, Viz Pictures' director of marketing, and Brian Ige, Viz's director of sales, home entertainment, about their company's strategy for licensing, marketing, and distributing live-action films. Iiboshi talked about why Viz decided to enter the live-action market in the first place and described the way Viz Pictures looks for new titles to acquire. It is now interested primarily in bringing out films that are outside the usual genres of Japanese cinema that are popular in the US, such as horror as well as violent yakuza and samurai action. She confirmed that for 2008, Viz Pictures plans to release eight or nine films. She did not name any specific titles, but said that more than half will be live-action adaptations of well-known manga and anime, and the remainder, "funky and edgy comedies."

For his part, Ige talked about the challenge Viz Pictures faces in educating customers about its films. This challenge was one of the reasons box-office takes for the films Viz showed theatrically were unremarkable. He also described Viz's marketing strategy for its live-action films. While he viewed the marketing strategies of anime and manga versus those of live-action films as separate with some cross-over, Ige says that Viz Pictures' goal is to cater to the tastes of the "anime/manga generation" by introducing it to the whole range of Japanese entertainment.

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