Coast Guard pic sails at Japan B.O.

'Umizaru' sequel on course to be biggest hit of year

TOKYO — It’s probably just as well “Mission: Impossible III” decided to give Japan a miss on its day-and-date rollout around the world.

Tom Cruise starrer likely would’ve been sunk by Japanese Coast Guard sequel “Umizaru 2: Limit of Love” (aka “Umizaru 2: The Test of Trust.” Outside Japan)

Pic grossed a hefty ¥9.6 billion ($8.65 million) its opening weekend on 315 screens, beating first weekend figures for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the year’s biggest hit to date.

Numbers compare to the bows of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” and “War of the Worlds,” the two highest grossers in Japan in 2005.

Pic is produced by Fuji TV and distribbed by Toho, which owns all four top slots in this week’s B.O. chart.

After grossing $1.56 million in 2004, “Umizaru” morphed into a hit Fuji TV series, strengthening the franchise’s fan base.

“MI3” will open in Japan on July 8.

Meanwhile, among countries that had not reported figures earlier this week, “MI3” opened strongly in Brazil on 55 screens for a total B.O. of 5.2 million reals ($2.5 million) and admissions of 588,246, some 55% of the weekend’s total ticket sales.

It was Brazil’s second largest opening this year, behind “Ice Age: The Meltdown” and Paramount’s largest ever opening in the country.

(Marcelo Cajueiro in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.)

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