(April 15, 2004 - Tokyo) – On the heels of receiving top distributor honors by Japan’s Motion Picture Exhibitors Association, Warner Bros. Japan will also be awarded the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award for Best Foreign Film Distributor of the Year for their box office achievements in 2003. William Ireton, Managing Director for Warner Bros. Japan, will accept the award on behalf of the company at a ceremony to be held on April 16, 2004 at the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Among the achievements that Warner Bros. Japan will be recognized for include the success of “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” (which combined have grossed ¥17.65 billion /U.S.$152.7 million-to-date) and “The Last Samurai” (with a current box office take of over ¥13 billion/U.S.$120 million), altogether totaling over 22 million admissions. Additionally, the success of the critically acclaimed dramas “Hero” (which Warner Bros. Pictures held rights to distribute in Japan) and “Mystic River” will also have special mention. “Our market-specific strategies carefully tailor each campaign in Japan. With efforts ranging from specialized creative materials to unique publicity events, we present the films in a sensitive and culturally appropriate manner. This strategy was particularly successful with the ‘The Last Samurai’ campaign, which brought the epic film home to Japan, making it emotional, personal, and a must-see,” explained Sue Kroll, President, Marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures International. “Japan is the biggest market outside of the U.S. With box office success that outdoes itself each year, including a take for ‘The Last Samurai’ that surpassed the U.S., the Japanese market is the primary business focus for the Studio not only on an international, but global, level,” emphasized Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President, Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures International. This is the third time that Warner Bros. Japan has been honored with the prestigious Minister’s Award in recent years – previously recognized in 2001 and 1999. Warner Bros. Japan – who has been the top distributor in Japan for three consecutive years, with a nearly 30% share of the market for imported films – grossed a total of ¥35 billion (U.S.$320 million) in box office in 2003.
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