Domestic films soar in first half of 2012

TOKYO — Hollywood pics continue to struggle against the domestic competition in Japan, according to a report on the Japanese box office for the first half of 2012 compiled by the Bunka Tsushin news service.

The top pic was time traveling laffer “Thermae Romae,” which has earned $74 million since its world preem at the Udine Far East Film Festival in April. The comedy is skedded for a North American bow at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Second was “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” with $69 million.

But only two other Hollywood pics, “Men in Black 3″ and “Dark Shadows,” hit the significant $25 million mark.

By contrast, eight of the top 10 domestic pics bowing in the first half cleared this hurdle. Of the 10, nine were released by perennial B.O. leader Toho, which accounted for 44% of the earnings of the top 13 distribs. The 10th film, toonpic “Keion” ($24 million), was handled by Shochiku.

The total B.O. for the 13 distribs was $1.04 billion, up about 1% from the same period last year when the biz was rocked by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant disasters.

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