Fuji TV Struggles to Produce New Popular Dramas | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Fuji TV Struggles to Produce New Popular Dramas

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Six theatrical versions of “Bayside Shakedown” have been produced, including two spin-offs, with a total box-office revenue of 48.76 billion yen.

The sequel to the blockbuster movie, “Tonde Saitama: With Love from Lake Biwa,” which was released on November 23rd last year, announced during a thanksgiving stage greeting held in Tokyo on the same day that it has surpassed 1.25 million in audience attendance and 17.2 billion yen in box office revenue by December 19th.

The previous work extensively ridiculed Saitama Prefecture, becoming an unexpected blockbuster with 3.76 billion yen in revenue. In this sequel, GACKT (50) and Fumi Nikaido (29) continue to co-star, relentlessly mocking Shiga Prefecture, and the box office revenue has currently surpassed 22 billion yen.

While the final box office revenue is expected to fall short of the previous installment, it is reported that, similar to the first film, the sequel is bringing significant profits to Fuji Television, a member of the production committee.

In the films released last year that Fuji invested in, the theatrical version of the Monday 9 PM drama “Mystery to Iunakare,” starring Masaki Suda (30), earned 4.74 billion yen at the box office. Additionally, the live-action film series adaptations of the popular manga “Tokyo Revengers 2: Blood Halloween Arc – Unmei” and “Kessen” collectively grossed 50 billion yen.

Since the appointment of Koichi Minato as president at the end of June 2022, Fuji established a new department to adapt TV dramas into movies with the aim of achieving success. “Mystery to Iunakare” can be considered a successful outcome of this strategy. However, the theatrical version of the drama “Ichikei no Karasu,” starring Yutaka Takenouchi (53), released in January last year, earned around 11 billion yen. Although it surpassed the benchmark of 10 billion yen for a major release hit, it was unexpected given the high expectations for the film.

In the theatrical versions of TV dramas released after President Minato’s appointment, both of which were released in 2022, the film “Galileo” series starring Masaharu Fukuyama (54), titled “Silent Parade,” achieved a box office revenue of 30 billion yen, and “Dr. Koto’s Clinic” starring Hidetaka Yoshioka (53) recorded a hit with 25 billion yen. However, for Fuji Television, it seems that these successes were somewhat anticipated and factored into their plans.

“Galileo is already a well-established and popular series with two previous theatrical releases that have been major hits in the past. The same can be expected for the film adaptation of Dr. Koto, which was a known success in the making. However, what Fuji Television aimed for was to successfully adapt a new TV drama into a film, with the hope that it would lead to the production of a sequel for the TV drama.

Unfortunately, the theatrical versions of TV dramas like ‘Lupin no Musume’ starring Kyoko Fukada (41), released in 2021 with a box office revenue of 4.5 billion yen, and “Radiation House” starring Masataka Kubota (35), released in 2022 with a box office revenue of 9.4 billion yen, both fell short of the 10 billion yen mark. The subsequent release of ‘Ichikei no Karasu’ and other drama sequels faced challenging situations with regard to box office performance,” as mentioned by the broadcasting reporter.

Amidst these circumstances, there have been reports since around last fall that the fifth theatrical installment of the popular detective drama series “Odoru Daisousasen,” starring Hiroshi Oda (56), is set to begin filming in February. However, as of now, there has been no official announcement.

“Miystery to Iunakare” was a major hit, but since the original work is incomplete and only a limited part has been adapted for the screen, there are doubts about how far a sequel can be produced. The film adaptation of “Kyoujo,” starring Takuya Kimura (51), as a sequel to the drama, seems to have fallen through. Currently, there are few TV dramas from the past few years that seem likely candidates for film adaptations, with “Kansatsui Asagao,” starring Juri Ueno (37), being one of the few options.

Therefore, bringing back “Odoru Daisousasen” could be seen as a last resort. Additionally, there are discussions about Tomohisa Yamashita (38) starring in the drama “Blue Moment” in the April season, with some speculating that it is a strategic move to lay the groundwork for a sequel to the highly successful film “Code Blue: Doctor Heli Kinkyu Kyumei,” which earned 9.3 billion yen at the box office.

Fuji Television’s dramas are not without controversial works, such as the social phenomenon hit “silent” in the fall of 2010, but it is difficult for them to surpass the popular works of the past. 

While dramas like “Silent” became a societal phenomenon with a significant hit in the fall of 2022, it seems challenging for Fuji Television to surpass the popularity of their past successful works. Even though there are noteworthy dramas, exceeding the success of their previous popular series appears to be quite difficult.

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Location for the fourth theatrical version, “Bayside Shakedown: The Final New Hope,” released in September ’12.
The third season of “Code Blue” began airing in July ’17, and the film version was released in July ’18. Tomohisa Yamashita and Yui Aragaki, the lead actors (July 28, ’17 issue).
On location for “Lupin’s Daughter.” While waiting, Fukada Kyoko plays with children who were fishing nearby for some reason (September 20, ’19 issue).
On location for “Ichikei no Karasu” (The Crow of Ichikei). From top left: Kuroki Hana, Kohinata Fumiyo, Takenouchi Yutaka (May 7 and 14 , 2021 issue)
The second season of “HERO” was broadcast in July ’14, and the movie version was released one year later. It was a huge hit, grossing 4.67 billion yen at the box office. It is said that there are hopes for a revival of the current production.
  • PHOTO Akifumi Yoshida (1st and 2nd), Kazuhiko Nakamura (3rd), Sota Shima (4th), Yusuke Kondo (5th), Takahiro Kagawa (6th)

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