Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) gave the green light to a plan from Toho Cinemas on Tuesday aimed at ending the exertion of undue influence over external film distributors. Toho Cinemas, the leading movie theater company in Japan, was under scrutiny since March of the previous year for allegedly compelling other firms to exclusively use their theaters.
The FTC has given its nod to the corrective measures proposed by Toho Cinemas, thereby sparing it from any legal actions or fines. This approval came after reviewing practices since 2016, where Toho Cinemas agreed to screen movies only if its theaters were chosen as the primary locations for significant promotional activities. Although the term ‘intimidation’ was used by the Asahi Shimbun to describe Toho’s approach, the newspaper didn’t elaborate further.
Toho is a powerhouse in Japan’s film sector, engaged in the creation, dissemination, and screening of films. It played a pivotal role in the release of many blockbuster films in Japan, including contributing to the launch of five out of the top ten revenue-generating films in 2021. Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, the top earner, was among them. Operating 677 screens in 72 locations across the country, Toho garnered JPY161 billion in revenue, attracting 115 million viewers in 2021. Source