Beginning February 1 next year, Paramount titles will be released and marketed in Japan via Toho-Towa. This is part of a long-term agreement that will see Toho-Towa form a new distribution company, in addition to its current operation, to distribute Paramount’s films. The first title through the pipe is The Big Short with Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt.

Once the Number 2 global market, Japan has been overtaken by China and has become increasingly trickier for the majors. Despite an almost complete lack of piracy, the strength of local movies and the need to program dates very early on is a concern there. Par got slightly dinged with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation when it moved off of its original December date and ended up releasing in Japan against Jurassic World without as many premium screens. It’s done well there ($42M is nothing to sniff at), but some believe it should have done better and fell victim to having to compete with the dinosaurs.

Now, Par’s titles will go through powerhouse Toho-Towa, which also incidentally handles Universal movies in the market and whose relationship should not be affected by this new deal given it’s under a separate umbrella. This is a smart move to work with a strong local partner.

Paramount’s Co-President of International Theatrical Marketing & Distribution Mark Viane said, “Toho-Towa has been a tremendous collaborator for us in the past, most recently with the huge success of World War Z and we are thrilled to be working with them on our future releases.”

Tomohiko Hoshino, COO & President of Toho-Towa said, “We are honored to distribute films from Paramount Pictures through a new company under the Toho-Towa umbrella. We look forward to a long-term relationship.”