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Japan-Update

Film distributor Toei seen reaching record pretax profit

Hit movies, growing licensing revenue benefit company

TOKYO -- Toei, a Japanese filmmaker and distributor, likely saw pretax profit climb 5% on the year to a record 16 billion yen ($142 million) for the April-December period, thanks to hit movies and growing use of the company's copyrighted animations in smartphone games.

Toei's sales apparently edged above the 93.1 billion yen reported the year earlier. Hit movie "One Piece Film: Gold," distributed by the company, topped 5 billion yen in box office sales. Toei group cinemas ran at high capacities as they showed popular movies such as "Kimi No Na Wa" ("Your Name") and "Shin Godzilla."

The company's licensing business made a major contribution toward lifting profit. Subsidiary Toei Animation owns the copyrights for anime series such as "Dragon Ball" and "One Piece." Licensing revenue grew as smartphone games featuring their characters were popular in Japan and abroad. The company began offering its animations to a major Chinese video distributor, adding to revenue.

Consumer interests generally appear to be shifting toward services from shopping. Japanese box office revenue grew 8% to reach 235.5 billion yen in 2016, breaking a record for the first time in six years. Film companies Toho and Shochiku reported record profits for the March-November period.

Toei likely will beat its forecast calling for pretax profit to drop 11% to 16.5 billion yen for the year ending in March. Results for the April-December period will be released Tuesday.

(Nikkei)

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