Japan lines up for homegrown pix

First time local biz has beaten foreign films since '85

TOKYO — Japanese pics are on track to grab a majority share of the 2006 box office, the first time domestic product has beaten foreign films since 1985, according to numbers compiled by the Nikkei newspaper.

In the first 10 months of 2006, B.O. for Japanese pics accounted for 47% of the total. Tipping the scales for Hollywood was “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” which grossed Y10.8 billion ($92 million) following its November 2005 release.

From January to October, however, local pics occupied half of the top 10 B.O. spots, led by the Studio Ghibli toon “Tales From Earthsea” ($65 million) and sea actioner “Umizaru 2 — Test of Trust” ($60 million).

The Japanese biz has a stronger lineup than Hollywood going into the holiday season, including Yoji Yamada’s period drama “Love and Honor,” headlined by local megastar Takuya Kimura (“2046”); “Nana 2,” Kentaro Otani’s sequel to his 2005 femme buddy pic that earned $34.4 million; and “Oh-oku,” the film version of the hit Fuji TV drama about the women of the Shogun’s court.

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