Veteran Japan-based production executive Bill Ireton is leaving Sony Pictures International Productions to start his own indie venture. Ireton says the new company will draw on its long-standing industry relationships in Tokyo and Hollywood to develop and produce for multiple global platforms based primarily on IP from Japan. The new venture, whose name is yet to be revealed, will begin operations on January 1, 2023.
Ireton began local production for Warner Bros. in Japan in 2007, releasing 49 films over a seven-year period. Ruroo ni Kenshin Trilogy; No excuse, directed by Song-Il Lee and based on the Clint Eastwood film; And Straw shield, directed by Takashi Miike. He was also involved in the production of Eastwood Letters of Iwo JimaStarring Ken Watanabe.
During his four years at Sony, Ireton shepherded production on features including hounds of hell, Directed by Masato Harada and starring Junichi Okada; I’m Makimoto, starring Sadao Abe; And Act of violenceCurrently streaming on Netflix.
In a statement Friday, Sanford Panich, president of Sony Pictures’ motion picture group, said: “I want to thank Bill for his work over the past few years. The production of Japanese films is a high priority for the company. Bill’s experience and relationships have contributed to our continued efforts in local manufacturing in Japan, and we wish him luck with his new venture, which I know he has wanted to do for some time.
Ireton said: “Making films with Sony Pictures over the past four years has been an amazing experience, which has helped catapult this exciting new chapter in my career.”
Ireton’s transition to independent production comes as global streamers, including Netflix, Disney+ and others, are increasingly bullish on the Japanese live-action scripted space as a path to continued growth in the large Japanese domestic market and regionally.