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Japanese box office down in ’07

Report finds 2.2% drop in sales

TOKYO — Japan’s box office for 2007 edged down 2.2% year-on-year to 198.4 billion yen ($1.9 billion), according to figures from the Motion Picture Producers Assn. of Japan (Eiren).

Admissions remained nearly the same at 163 million, down just 0.8% from 2007.

With only two pics earning more than $47 million, compared with six in 2006, the B.O. share of Japanese pics slipped from 53.2% in 2006 to 47.7% in 2007.

The number of pics released also fell slightly from 821 to 810, with 407 of the 2007 total being locally made. The number of screens rose from 3,062 to 3,221.

The year’s biggest hit according to Eiren was “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” with a B.O. of $103 million. The top-earning Japanese pic was legal thriller “Hero,” which grossed $77 million.

Some 29 local pics and 22 foreign pics scored 1 billion yen ($9.4 million) or better.

The top domestic distrib was Toho, which claimed nine of the top 10 Japanese B.O. pics.

Distribs of foreign pics shared top 10 honors more equally, with Warner accounting for three (“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” “Letters From Iwo Jima,” “Ocean’s Thirteen”); Walt Disney, two (“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “Ratatouille”); Sony Pictures, two (“Spider-Man 3,” “Resident Evil 3”) and UIP (“Transformers”) and Fox (“Night at the Museum”) one each.

DVD sales dropped across the board, with rental store sales falling 2.3% to $3.8 billion; the number of rentals fell 1.4%, to 763.5 million; and DVD sales were down 2.6% to $2.3 billion.

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