Butter up some popcorn and switch your phone to silent – one of Japan’s most active distributors announces its lineup of foreign and domestic films due to hit cinemas in the next year.

By Luca Eandi

Gaga has been in the distribution business for 30 years, growing to be one of the biggest indie distributors in the Japanese market, the third-biggest region after North America and China. Its 2016 roster of films already includes recent critical hits “Room,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Mr. Holmes” and Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth.” Now, the remainder of its lineup has been announced, filling out its release schedule all the way into the first quarter of 2017.

One of the more notable foreign releases is from “Once” director John Carney, returning with his 1980s-based musical comedy “Sing Street,” a sort of “Commitments” for the MTV Generation.

Other foreign notables: the latest from “Philomena” director Stephen Frears, “Florence Foster Jenkins,” stars Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant; Terrence Malick’s “Voyage of Time,” an IMAX documentary, examines the birth and death of the Universe; Emma Stone and Ryan Goslin star in musical “La La Land” from “Whiplash” writer-director Damien Chazelle; “Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn offers his latest thriller, “The Neon Demon”; Giuseppe Tornatore, of “Cinema Paradiso” fame, returns with “Correspondence”; Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman star in “Lion”; and Sérgio Machado directs the drama, “The Violin Teacher.”

On the other side of the coin, box office flops “Gods of Egypt” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” hope to fare better in Japan than they did in the US and Europe, where they fell well short of expectations.

For lovers of schlock, Nicolas Cage’s latest paycheck-grabbing turn in the horror/thriller “Pay The Ghost” is sure to be pleasantly wince-inducing. Alternatively, for a pure WTF, look no further than “Look Who’s Back,” a German satire based on a novel, wherein Hitler wakes up in modern-day Berlin and through humorous circumstances passes as a performance artist and quickly achieves celebrity status, ultimately leading him back to politics.

On the documentary front, Gaga’s alternative labels, Gaga+ and GagaX, will release acclaimed films “Citizenfour” and “Hitchcock/Truffant.”

Additionally, Gaga has also announced a commitment to produce content for the domestic anime market, starting with a live-action feature adaptation of the best-selling manga “Itazurana Kiss,” as well as two TV animation series, soon to be announced.

Full line-up for the next year, with release dates:

“Look Who’s Back,” dir: David Wnendt (June 2016)
“Sing Street,” dir: John Carney (July 2016)
“The Misplaced World,” dir: Margarethe von Trotta (July 2016)
“The Violin Teacher,” dir: Sérgio Machado (August 2016)
“God Willing,” dir: Edoardo Maria Falcone (August 2016)
“Gods Of Egypt,” dir: Alex Proyas (Sept 2016)
“Correspondence,” dir: Giuseppe Tornatore (Sept 2016)
“Pride And Prejudice And Zombies,” dir: Burr Steers (Sept 2016)
“The Final Lesson,” dir: Pascale Pouzadoux (2016)
“Oboreru Knife,” dir: Yuki Yamato (Nov 2016)
“Florence Foster Jenkins,” dir: Stephen Frears (Dec 2016)
“Voyage Of Time,” dir: Terrence Malick (2017)
“The Neon Demon,” dir: Nicolas Winding Refn (2017)
“It’s Only The End Of The World,” dir: Xavier Dolan (2017)
“La La Land,” dir: Damien Chazelle (March 2017)
“Lion,” dir: Garth Davis (April 2017)
“Utsukushii Hoshi,” dir: Daihachi Yoshida (May 2017)

“Citizenfour,” dir: Laura Poitras (June 2016)
“Pay The Ghost,” dir: Uli Edel (Oct 2016)
“Itazurana Kiss – The Movie,” dir: Minoru Mizoguchi (Autumn 2016)
“Bastille Day,” dir: James Watkins (2016)
“November Criminals,” dir: Sacha Gervasi (2017)
“Rupture,” dir: Steven Shainberg (2017)

“Chronic,” dir: Michel Franco (May 2016)
“To The Fore,” dir: Dante Lam (2016)
“Hitchcock/Truffaut,” dir: Kent Jones (2016)

Main image from “La La Land.”