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Japan B.O. buoyant

Receipts rise 3.3% to pace record year

TOKYO — The Motion Picture Producers Assn. of Japan announced Thursday that 2003 was a record year for the Japanese box office, with total receipts reaching ¥203.26 billion ($1.93 billion) with a total audience of 162.35 million.

Those figures are 3.3% and 1% higher, respectively, than those for 2002. The previous record was the year 2001 with a box office total of ¥200.2 billion.

Thanks to the local mega-hit “Bayside Shakedown 2” and several other strong performers among domestic productions, the share of Japanese films rose to 33%, up from 27.1% the previous year.

Toho could keep its stranglehold on the distribution of domestic films, with six of the top 10 to its credit. Warner Bros. Japan wins in the overseas film department as it continues to dominate with three out of the top 10.

The top five Japanese films were:

Bayside Shakedown 2 (Toho) ¥17.35 billion ($164.45 million)

Pocket Monster 2003 (Toho) ¥4.5 billion ($42.65 million)

Konan The Detective (Toho) ¥3.2 billion ($30.3 million)

Yomigaeri: Resurrection (Toho) ¥3.07 billion ($29 million)

Zatoichi (Shochiku) ¥2.85 billion ($27 million)

The top five imported films were:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (WB) ¥17.3 billion ($164 million) (started November 2002)

The Matrix Reloaded (WB) ¥11 billion ($104.3 million)

Terminator 3 (Toho-Towa) ¥8.2 billion ($77.7 million)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Nippon Herald & Shochiku) ¥7.9 billion ($74.9 million)

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (BVI) ¥6.8 billion ($64.45 million)

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