Toho, Japan’s No. 1 distrib and exhib, took in a record-breaking yen 7.5 billion ($63.9 million) at the box office in September, the best result for the month in its 75-year history.
The big hit was “Hero,” now in its fifth week atop the B.O., soaring past $60 million. The pic, based on a hit Fuji TV series from 2001, features local megastar Takuya Kimura as a renegade DA.
Toho expects “Hero” to make $85.5 million, challenging “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” for the top of the Japanese B.O. in 2007. Only four local live-action pics, including “Hero” producer Chihiro Kameyama’s two “Bayside Shakedown” cop caper pics, have ever made more than $85.5 million.
Other pics that boosted Toho’s bottom line in September include Fuji TV kiddie fantasy “Monkey Magic” $36.7 million), the latest “Pokemon” toon ($42.7 million) and TBS weeper “Closed Note,” which is expected to finish with more than $12.8 million.
However, Toho’s total for the first nine months of the year fell 18.4% to $361 million compared with the same period in 2006, when local pics grabbed more than a 50% market share for the first time in 21 years.