‘Menace’ passes $100 mil in Japan

Pic makes mark o'seas

TOKYO — “Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace” has become the fourth movie in Japanese box office history to top the $100 million mark.

Japan also became the first overseas territory to draw $100 million for the George Lucas space epic.

“Phantom Menace” started quickly out of the gates in Japan as it set opening-day attendance records and posted a record 4.2 billion yen ($38.1 million) in the two weeks after its July 10 release.

The movie is playing on just over 400 screens and the number of theaters showing the film will soon be reduced. Twentieth Century Fox Japan officials said no schedule has been set for ending the film’s run in Japanese theaters.

The other films that have crossed $100 million in Japan are “Titanic,” which is the all-time champ for the country with box office receipts of about $225 million, followed by the local animated feature “Princess Mononoke” and “Armageddon.”

“Phantom Menace” crossed the $100 million mark in Japan on Thursday on overall attendance of 7.2 million.

The main challenger at the summer box office was the latest Pocket Monsters movie, “Pocket Monsters Revelation Lugia,” which opened July 17 and has taken in about $52.2 million.