VIZ Media has launched a new wholly-owned Hollywood-based company named VIZ Productions to produce and license live-action theatrical film and TV projects based on animated and manga series. The new company will draw on a vast catalog of manga properties owned by its Japanese parent companies Shogakukan and Shueisha, as well as publishing giant Hakusensha, all of which are among the largest publishing houses in Japan.
VIZ Productions will also serve as liaison between Japanese creative licensors and Hollywood production houses, studios and agents and plans to produce or license live action films covering a wide range of graphic novel genres. Projects lined up include science fiction, fantasy, action adventure, horror, thriller, comedy and drama. The VIZ Productions launch is timely as Hollywood is looking actively for new material and a myriad of Japanese graphic novel material remains untapped in Hollywood. VIZ Productions’ parent company VIZ Media dominates the burgeoning North American manga market and its stable of animation titles are seen on Cartoon Network and other distribution outlets. Among some of its most popular titles include NARUTO, BLEACH, DEATH NOTE, INUYASHA and NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER.
“VIZ Productions will give Hollywood a unique conduit to some of the most innovative and unique entertainment properties from Japan. Hollywood has always looked to comic books and graphic novels and has recently discovered the untapped pool of Japanese manga for development into live action features. Worldwide, the creators of manga are viewed as artists, and the rich storylines are already a hit with the coveted 12-34 demographic,” says Jason Hoffs,
Head of Production for VIZ Productions. “With our pool of resources of dramatic storylines and incredible characters coming from manga and animation, we are confident that the development of many new projects will attract the best talent, actors, directors, writers and bring a new array of films to domestic audiences.”
Adds Hidemi Fukuhara, President and CEO of VIZ Media, said “We are proud to have Jason Hoffs as Head of Production for VIZ Productions; he brings a great deal of knowledge gained from over 15 years in Hollywood and has a keen eye for great stories. Our parent companies Shogakukan and Shueisha are the top manga publishers in Japan and hold a wealth of rich characters and storylines in their extensive catalog. Jason Hoffs will helm the effort to bring these wonderful stories to Hollywood and to build a bridge between the creative talents both in Hollywood and in Tokyo.”