Fifth Season, the production and distribution company previously known as Endeavor Content, has secured a $225 million strategic investment from Toho International, the Japanese film and TV studio behind current box office hit “Godzilla Minus One.”
The investment gives Toho a 25% equity stake in the company and leaves Korean entertainment conglomerate CJ ENM as Fifth Season’s majority owner. Former parent company, Endeavor Group Holdings continues as a strategic shareholder.
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CJ ENM and Fifth Season will work with Toho to both produce global content and participate in content produced in Japan. Toho’s development and production executives will also team with Fifth Season. Production and creative efforts that result from these collaborations will access Fifth Season’s global distribution network.
Previously, CJ ENM completed its deal to buy a controlling stake in Endeavor Content in January 2022. It paid $875 million for an 80% holding. The business rebranded as Fifth Season in September that year.
The latest announcement was made by Fifth Season’s co-CEOs Graham Taylor and Chris Rice and Toho president Matsuoka Hiro. It followed a deal in which Fifth Season was advised by The Raine Group and O’Melveny as its legal advisor.
“This investment is an excellent and unique opportunity to build on Fifth Season’s momentum and solidify our leadership in the global independent film and television space,” said Taylor and Rice in a prepared statement. “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.”
“This collaboration will be a significant step towards challenging the global market, not only in the field of animation where Toho has excelled, but also in the realm of live-action content,” said Matsuoka. “We are extremely grateful and excited to take on this challenge hand in hand with CJ ENM, which has been advancing into the global entertainment market from Asia, and Endeavor [..] Crossing the bridge between Japan and the world that will be built through this collaboration, we hope to see Japanese projects, intellectual properties, and content expand further into the global market.”
“Godzilla Minus One” is the 37th element in the venerable Japanese kaiju (monster) franchise. It had its world premiere early last month as the closing title of the Tokyo International Film Festival and has smashed its way into North American theaters. Over the most recent weekend it grossed $8.32 million for a ‘domestic’ cumulative of $25.3 million. Worldwide, its cume to date is $52.3 million, per ComScore.
“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,” said Koo Chang-gun, CJ ENM’s CEO.
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