With a background as a prominent silent film narrator, Mitsugi Okura established the Radio Film Corporation in 1947. He changed the name to Fuji Film Corporation in 1954 and in 1961 founded Okura Pictures. Mitsugi had produced hundreds of films in his professional career, including “Emperor Meiji and the Great Russo-Japanese War” which held the domestic box office record of 20 million spectators until it was broken by Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away in 2001.
In 1962 Okura Pictures created a new genre, the pink film, with the production of “Flesh Market”. From then on Okura focused on making films with the R-18 rating: limited for audiences aged 18 and older. To this day, Okura Pictures is making close to 40 films a year and holds more than 90% of the market share in the pink film category. Okura’s films are shown in our own four theaters and dozens of others across the nation.
“The pink film business is dying”. Even though it might not completely disappear, the market for pink films is growing increasingly smaller. That was the biggest fear we shared within the company in 2013.
Our answer was OP Pictures Plus. The films falling under this umbrella are non-pink films and non-adult oriented. Rather, they seek to attract a wider audience with the R-15 film rating in Japan. From a distribution standpoint, films with an R-15 rating have a bigger reach than R-18. To create our OP Pictures Plus lineup, we have been signing deals with dozens of TV stations on the Japanese market. More importantly, this non-adult oriented style has created even bigger opportunities outside our home country. Internationally, our films have started being recognized at film markets such as FILMART and TIFFCOM, and most recently, Cannes’ Le Marche du Film. Currently, our OP Pictures Plus features are being sold in seven different countries and/or regions, and the number will be steadily growing in the years to come.