Pixar's 'Wall-E' hangs onto second place

TOKYO — “The Day the Earth Stood Still” topped the Japanese box office with a $5.03 million take in its opening four day weekend. Alien invasion pic saw 359,000 admissions from Friday Dec. 19 to Sunday Dec. 21.

Local distributor Fox filled the airways with saturation ads emphasizing scenes of spectacular CGI destruction, while star Keanu Reeves beat the local PR drum hard prior to release. The audience demographic ranged wide, reaffirming the traditional strength of big Hollywood effects tentpoles during the holiday periods.

Pixar’s latest animated feature “Wall-E” held onto second place, while local superhero pic “K-20″ debuted in third place with a two day total of $1.87 million from 133,000 admissions.

Opening box office grosses for “K-20″ fell short of expectations, however, with distributor Toho and producer NTV hoping for upwards of $2 million on the back of good reviews and strong word of mouth. Toho’s original prediction of a $30 million cume now looks ambitious.

Debuting at number four, with a weak $1.1 million on 86,000 admissions, was “The Red Thread,” a romantic drama based on a popular cell phone novel. The pic now looks unlikely to equal the $43 million total of last year’s smash “Sky of Love,” another cellphone-novel-based drama about tragic young love.

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