Japan's Rakuten, The H Collective Form Movie Production Venture

The establishment of the joint venture follows the Japanese e-commerce giant taking a stake in the L.A.-based film production and distribution company earlier this year.

Japan's Rakuten and The H Collective will form a joint movie production company in Japan, to be known as Rakuten H Collective Studio, the two entities unveiled in Tokyo on Thursday.

Rakuten had in May at the Cannes Film Festival said it was investing in The H Collective.

Rakuten is Japan's largest e-commerce company, with interests spanning sport, media and financial tech, and has been expanding internationally. Los Angeles-based The H Collective is a mini-studio with significant ties to the Chinese film industry and a worldwide distribution deal with Sony Pictures.

The two companies will also establish Rakuten Distribution, which will primarily distribute films made under the joint venture. The first release in Japan is slated to be Brightburn, starring Elizabeth Banks and produced by James Gunn, in autumn this year in cooperation with Toho-Towa, the foreign film distribution arm of giant Toho.

Other films on Rakuten H Collective Studio's slate include Aaron W. Sala’s horror thriller The Beast, directed by Christine Crokos; and The Remainders, a revenge thriller written by Derek Kolstad (John Wick).

According to the two companies, Rakuten H Collective Studio will engage in the in-house production of films, financing, intellectual property management, the production and sale of video content to a variety of platforms, as well as creating music, comics, games and other goods based on the content of the films and selling advertising opportunities through product placement..

The H Collective, headed by Nic Crawley, is also producing the fourth installment of the xXx franchise starring Vin Diesel and its slate includes Christopher Cantwell’s thriller The Parts You Lose, starring Aaron Paul.

Tokyo-headquartered Rakuten has a market cap of more than $14 billion and has operations in 30 countries. It runs the Rakuten TV platform in Japan and Europe, the Asian-drama focused Viki global VOD platform and a wide range of other businesses, including a baseball team and soccer team in Japan. It also sponsors Barcelona FC, which was recently in Japan playing against Rakuten-owned Vissel Kobe, home to a number of former Barcelona players.

Harry Brooker