Paramount revives hit film "Ghost" in Japan
By Chris Gallagher
TOKYO (Reuters) - Paramount Pictures is bringing "Ghost" back to life with a Japanese version of the romance blockbuster, becoming the latest Hollywood studio to launch a local-language production as U.S. films stumble at Japan's box offices.
The unit of Viacom Inc also is starting to dub more U.S. movies, such as "Shutter Island," into Japanese to lure elusive young audiences, an unusual step in a country where most foreign fare, apart from kids' films, is shown with subtitles.
Hollywood studios are increasingly eyeing the potential of local-language production, particularly in the $2 billion Japanese market where once-dominant American movies have been outgunned by local films the past three out of four years.
Warner Bros., a division of Time Warner Inc. is already an established player in Japan's local-language game and recently saw its animated movie "Gintama" grace the box office top 10 for five weeks.
Fox International Productions, part of News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox film studio, is planning a Japanese remake of the Cary Grant classic "An Affair to Remember," show business newspaper Variety reported.
"We have this great property" in our library, Paramount Japan marketing director Hisamichi Kinomoto said of "Ghost." "If the essence of that story appeals to Japanese, we should use it to attract new audiences."
"Ghost" was a smash hit in 1990 with its universal tale of a love that knows no boundaries such as real life and the after life. Swayze portrays a murdered man who must warn his loving wife (Demi Moore) that she is in danger, and it is most memorable, perhaps, for its scene of Moore making pottery as Swayze wraps his arms around her while the song "Unchained Melody" plays in the background.
The new "Ghost," which Paramount is making with Nippon TV and distributor Shochiku, is set for release in Japan this autumn. It will star Japanese actress Nanako Matsushima ("The Ring") in Moore's role and South Korean heartthrob Song Seung Heon (TV drama "East of Eden") in Swayze's part. Continued...