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Japanese audiences orbit ‘Earth’

Fox remake nabs $5.03 million to top box office

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 during the Dec. 19-21 period.

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 showed a wide range, reaffirming the traditional strength of big Hollywood effects tentpoles during the holidays.

Pixar’s latest animated feature, “Wall-E,” held on to 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 No. 4, 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 cell phone-novel-based drama about tragic young love.

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