Foreign pics plunges 17.9% to $734 million

TOKYO — After a disaster-plagued 2011, the Japanese B.O. rebounded in 2012, gaining 7.7% to $2.14 billion on 155 million admissions, according to figures compiled by the Motion Pictures Producers Association of Japan (Eiren).

Not sharing in the bounty, however, were foreign pics, whose B.O. plunged 17.9% year-on to $734 million, and market share from 45.1% in 2011 to 34.3% in 2012. Only one foreign title, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” topped the $50 million mark, with $59 million, while four passed that milestone in 2011.

Among the local releases, the top earner was the Japan coast guard thriller “Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts” with $80 million, followed by the time-travel fantasy “Thermae Romae” ($65.5 million) and the cop thriller “Bayside Shakedown 4: The Final” ($65.4 million).

All in all, 39 local pics topped 1 billion yen ($11 million), traditionally considered the measure of a hit in the Japanese market. Only 19 foreign pics, however, bettered this benchmark.

The number of releases grew to 983, compared with 799 in 2011, with local pics numbering 554 and foreign pics, 429. The number of screens, however, shrank from 3,339 in 2011 to 2,290 in 2012, as the over-built multiplex sector continued to consolidate.

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