Toho, a Japanese studio, has acquired a $225 million share in Fifth Season, an independent U.S. studio that has produced popular shows for Apple TV+ like Severance and Max’s Tokyo Vice. The agreement was revealed on Monday by the new partners, who stated that it will enable Fifth Season to “continue expanding its broad slate of premium content.” The fifth season of Fifth Season will see the Korean entertainment behemoth CJ ENM maintain its dominant ownership, with Toho acquiring a 25 percent stake and Group Holdings remaining a strategic shareholder.
Fifth Season Co-CEOs Chris Rice and Graham Taylor, as well as Toho President Hiro Matsuoka, announced the deal. Matsuoka stated that the deal will “bolster[ing] the growth of Fifth Season as a major global studio encompassing East and West cultures” and will open up new avenues for collaboration between CJ ENM, Fifth Season, and Toho. “Creative efforts that result from these collaborations will benefit from Fifth Season’s robust global distribution network,” the statement reads. The new partners will continue to collaborate on global material as well as new titles developed in Japan.
Hollywood power Endeavour founded Fifth Season, formerly known as Endeavour Content, in 2017 to expand the group’s production company. However, after protracted talks with the WGA about packaging rights, Endeavour was compelled to sell the company in 2021. Later that year, Korea’s CJ ENM entered the market as a buyer, acquiring an 80 percent share in the production banner in an astonishing $785 million deal.
One of Japan’s oldest entertainment companies, Toho, is currently enjoying great success at the box office in the United States with Godzilla Minus One, the critically acclaimed 37th entry in the monster franchise. Since its release on December 1, the film has brought in $25.3 million, setting a record for the highest amount of money ever made by a Japanese live-action picture in North America.
In a joint statement, Taylor and Rice stated, “Strategic partnerships are a core piece of our DNA, and we were deliberate in moving forward with a company as successful, storied, and aligned with our goals and values as Toho.” “With their collaboration, alongside that of the great partnerships with CJ ENM and Endeavor, Fifth Season is positioned better than ever to delight audiences around the world with an expansive slate of top-quality content.”
“We are thrilled to have Toho, the biggest entertainment company in Japan, as our partner at this time when Fifth Season is making significant strides as a global major studio,” continued Koo Chang-gun, CEO of CJ ENM.
In addition to Severance and Tokyo Vice, the Fifth Season is well-known for Nicole Kidman’s Hulu series Nine Perfect Strangers and Amy Schumer’s Hulu series Life & Beth, both of which are presently filming their second seasons. The Savant, starring Jessica Chastain, Chief of War, starring Jason Momoa, and Lady in the Lake, helmed by Sundance prize winner Alma Har’el and starring Natalie Portman, are among the new shows in production. Fifth Season produces shows of its own and oversees the international distribution of a collection of shows that includes Killing Eve, The Morning Show, Normal People, and The Night Manager, which just revealed a sequel. Regarding its film division, the studio presently has Eileen, which was directed by William Oldroyd and stars Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie, in theatres.
The upcoming movies at the studio are the writer-director Jan Komasa’s Anniversary, starring Diane Lane and Mckenna Grace, and Stephen Chobsky’s Nonnas, featuring Vince Vaughn in the lead role.
The Raine Group served as the only financial advisor to Fifth Season on the Toho deal, while O’Melveny provided legal advice.
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