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‘Pirates’ tops 10 billion yen mark

Pic is first to pass that mark in Japan this year

TOKYO — “Pirates of the Caribbean: World’s End” has become the first foreign pic to top the 10 billion yen ($82 million) mark at the Japanese box odffice this year, distrib Walt Disney Japan has announced.

Released on May 25, the pic needed 53 days to reach the milestone — and is on track to beat the total of the previous “Pirates” pic, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,”which finished with Y10.02

billion ($82.1 million) last year.

The cume is even more impressive given that “Dead Man’s Chest” was released in July, at the peak of the summer BO season, while “World’s End” bowed in May, when its school-age target aud was still at the books.

It will be blown out of the water by “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which bows on 950 screens in Japan on July 20. The pic scored Y1,175,276,950 ($9.6 million) in sneak preview screenings on the 14th, 15th and 16th, compared with Y939,227,500 ($7.6 million) for similar three-day sneaks for “Dead Man’s Chest.” Based on these numbers, distrib Warner Bros. Japan is now predicting that the fifth Potter pic will haul in Y15 billion ($122 million). The last series entry, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” hit the Y13.5 billion ($110 million) mark following its November 2005 release.

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