'Love' beats 'Casino' in Japan

TOKYO — A blind samurai beat James Bond to top the Japanese box office last weekend.

Helmer Yoji Yamada’s “Love and Honor” (Bushi ni Ichibun), earned Y436 million ($3.8 million) beating fellow opener “Casino Royale’s” $3.4 million.

Take was well up on the first weekend gross recorded by “The Hidden Blade,” the second pic in Yamada’s samurai trilogy, which finished its run with $7.9 million.

“Love and Honor” star Takuya Kimura is a member of the pop group SMAP and a TV megastar for more than a decade. He is helping to draw younger femme fans who would ordinarily never turn up for a samurai drama.

Distrib Shochiku predicts that “Love and Honor” will hit the Y5 billion ($43.5 million) mark, which would make it Yamada’s biggest hit in a career that includes the 48 entries in the “Tora-san” series, itself a Guinness Book record.

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