‘Spirit’ hits record

Toho floats on air

TOKYO — The Japanese animated feature “Spirited Away” has set a new audience record in its home territory, according to distrib Toho Co.

As of Wednesday the movie, which bowed July 20 on 318 screens nationwide and reached a maximum of 343 during the summer, recorded 16.9 million viewers, breaking the record set by “Titanic,” which saw 16.8 million admissions. The speed with which “Spirited Away” reached this audience figure also represents a record.

Pic had grossed 21.7 billion yen ($184.14 million at the present exchange rate) as of Wednesday, only $4.27 million short of the “Titanic” all-time-high. That “Spirited Away” has not eclipsed the gross of the James Cameron pic is partly due to recently introduced discount days and cheaper presale tickets not available during the “Titanic” onslaught.

Toho expects “Spirited Away” to overtake the “Titanic” gross in the coming few weeks as the pic is still screening in 327 cinemas nationwide and keeps topping the B.O. listings.

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