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Toho Expands U.S. Footprint: Invests $225 Million in CJ ENM FIFTH SEASON for Cross-Cultural Content Venture

Toho International, Inc. invests $225 million in American studio FIFTH SEASON, a collaboration with CJ ENM and Endeavor, signaling a strategic move for Japanese content in the U.S.
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In a strategic leap into the U.S. entertainment landscape, Toho International, Inc., the American subsidiary of Toho Group, unveiled a groundbreaking investment on December 11, 2023. The company announced its participation in CJ ENM FIFTH SEASON LLC (FIFTH SEASON), an American film and television studio. Currently, CJ ENM holds an 80% stake, with Endeavor maintaining a 20% stake. Toho International will secure a 25% stake with a substantial $225 million investment.

FIFTH SEASON, originally part of Endeavor Content before its 2022 spin-off, specializes in vertical video operations, including planning, financing, production, and sales. The studio has a strong track record, contributing to the success of renowned works such as “Severance,” and “Tokyo Vice.”

The collaborative effort encompasses the strengths of Endeavor’s vertical video business and CJ ENM’s influence in Korean content, with globally acclaimed productions like “Parasite” and “Crash Landing on You.” Toho envisions leveraging this network for Japanese content, aiming for a symbiotic relationship between Japanese and Korean content.

Beyond the financial investment, Toho aims to co-develop and co-produce live-action content with FIFTH SEASON. The collaboration also opens avenues for mutual use and collaboration of each company’s intellectual property (IP). This strategic move is anticipated to foster cross-cultural content ventures, aligning with the changing dynamics of global entertainment.

Toho’s strategic shift, focusing on “Planning & IP” and “Overseas” in its medium-term management strategy, reflects a conscious effort to counter challenges in the domestic market. As Japan grapples with a declining population, this initiative signifies Toho’s commitment to overseas expansion, adding a new dimension to its successful anime and program sales ventures. The industry now watches closely as this alliance shapes the future landscape of cross-cultural content collaboration in the U.S. market.

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