Movie based on TBS series is year’s best in Japan

TOKYO — “Rookies,” a dramedy about a baseball team in a tough high school, has topped the Japan box office for 2009, according to figures released Friday by Bunka Tsushin entertainment news service.

The pic, which was produced Tokyo Broadcasting System based on the net’s hit series, scored 8.5 billion yen ($99 million) following its May bow. It also recorded the highest DVD shipments for the year, including both the rental and sell categories, with 500,000 units.

This beats the total of “Boys Over Flowers,” another TBS production that had the best B.O. for a live-action pic last year with $87 million, while moving 400,000 DVD units.

Based on a best-selling comic by Masanori Morita, “Rookies” began airing on TBS in 2008. The pic follows the fortunes of the drama’s baseball team as its members enter their third year of high school and shoot for a slot in a national tournament.

The highest-ranking foreign pic at the 2009 box office, according to Bunka Tsushin, was “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” with $93 million.

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