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WB leading foreign film distrib in Japan

Warner Bros. topped the 1992 list of foreign film distribs here for the second year in a row.

WB was powered by hits such as “JFK” ($ 12.8 million), “Lethal Weapon 3” ($ 8 million) and Walt Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” ($ 12 million).

WB notched up total rentals (the share of grosses the distributor takes home) of $ 59.8 million for 1992, according to figures from various distributors.

But in the same period, total box office gross declined from $ 1.3 billion ( 163 billion yen) to $ 1.2 billion.

Japanese film rentals, in contrast to foreign rentals, increased from $ 223 million to $ 225 million. Foreign films dropped from $ 298 million to $ 274 million.

Foreign pic rentals are generally 55% of Japan’s totalrentals.

The number of movie theaters again fell last year to 1,744 (from 1,804 in ’91 ). Cinema attendance continued to fall, down another 9% (from 1991) to 125.6 million.

Nippon Herald ($ 47.8 million) was the second-largest foreign film distributor, followed by UIP ($ 44.9 million), Columbia/TriStar ($ 41.7 million) , Fox ($ 29 million), Toho-Towa ($ 21.6 million) and Shochiku-Fuji ($ 6.6 million)

Although total foreign sales fell 11.5% from ’91, and Warners’ own rentals were down 15% (from $ 71 million in ’91), the market has seen a remarkable rebound in the past three months, with B.O. receipts at Tokyo’s 63 theaters up 35% since Dec. 1. A WB exec attributes that to “The Bodyguard” and “Home Alone 2 : Lost in New York.”

The top foreign films of 1992 were Col TriStar’s “Hook” (rentals of $ 18.6 million), Fox’s “Alien3” ($ 15.6 million), Nippon Herald’s “Basic Instinct” ($ 15.2 million), WB’s “JFK” ($ 13.6 million) and “Beauty and the Beast” ($ 12.8 million), UIP’s “Patriot Games” ($ 9.6 million) and Fox’s “Hot Shots” ($ 8 million).

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