Japanese Buyer Wowow Makes ‘Songbird’ Its First Theatrical Acquisition – Deadline


Nine months after launching its new theatrical distribution operation, Japanese pay TV broadcaster Wowow has made its first theatrical film acquisition, closing an all-rights deal for pandemic thriller Songbird, starring KJ Apa, Sofia Carson, Craig Robinson, Bradley Whitford, Peter Stormare, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Walter Hauser and Demi Moore.

Produced by Michael Bay and Adam Goodman, and directed by Adam Mason, the dystopian (but all too real) film is set in 2022 as another pandemic ravages the world and its cities. The film zones in on a handful of people as they navigate the obstacles hindering society: disease, martial law, quarantine, and vigilantes.

Screenplay was written by Adam Mason and his writing partner Simon Boyes during the early part of the lockdown. The film was among the first features to shoot in Los Angeles after lockdown restrictions were eased.

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Kayo Washio, Head of Wowow’s LA office, made the acquisition deal with Endeavor Content, which is handling international sales.

The acquisition is the second major content deal for Wowow in as many weeks. The firm previously revealed that it has boarded anticipated Michael Mann-directed series Tokyo Vice, closing an all-rights distribution deal for Japan that will also see the company co-produce the series with Endeavor Content and HBO Max.

Said Kayo Washio: “A universally relatable love story with a distinct Michael Bay feel to it, Songbird is wholly unique as a story, and a film that can drive audiences to theaters in Japan. This movie works because the pandemic is being experienced all over the world and most people experience the same range of emotions and feelings including fear, trepidation and isolation, while also rethinking lives and what is important to us etc. It’s very rare and unique to have something completely relatable on such a deep level to just about everyone on the planet. Wowow is excited to introduce this movie as our debut feature title as it is repetitive of the quality of content our subscribers are accustomed to.”

Wowow Board Director and Managing Executive Officer Masahiko Mizuguchi launched and oversees the company’s new theatrical releasing operation. Commented Mizuguchi: Theatrical distribution is a promising new business for us. We’re not naïve to the impact of the pandemic. It has and will continue to create unique challenges, but the cinematic experience is not going away, and challenges create opportunity. Wowow has built its platform with a focus on sustainability and scalability. In doing so, we are well positioned to navigate through uncertain times. We’re happy to have such an excellent film to lead our new theatrical slate and to build a new Wowow tradition of quality, commercially viable motion pictures.”

No precise release date is set for Songbird in Japan, but the film is due to hit theaters in Japan in 2021. STXfilms is releasing in North America and the U.K.

Michael Bay and former Paramount Pictures President Adam Goodman produced with Macei A. Brown, Jason Clark, Jeanette Volturno, Andrew Sugerman and Eben Davidson. Goodman financed the film though his Invisible Narratives banner. Michael Kase executive produced.



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