Following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear reactor crisis, the Japanese B.O. has recovered relatively quickly. Fans wanting a break from the gloom and anxiety they see on the tube — or experience in their own lives — have flocked to theaters. Also, domestic pics got a leg up after Hollywood distribs were forced to pull or delay pics in which content, such as the tsunami images in Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter,” might offend local auds.
An example of this resilience is the latest installment of the “Detective Conan” kiddy toon series, whose opening B.O. of some $19 million on April 16-17 was 97% of last year’s entry, which set a record for the franchise.
Auds tastes have changed, however, with pics that offer family-friendly escape or uplift selling more tickets proportionally than dark, violent and otherwise disturbing fare. One beneficiary has been “The King’s Speech,” which spent seven weeks in the top 10 after bowing on Feb. 26, while driving its cume past the $10 million mark. Observers cited not only its Oscars, but also its message of perseverance against adversity as reasons for its popularity.
Total 2010 box office: $2.66 billion
Total 2010 releases: 716
Top 2010 indie film: “The Borrowers,” $111 million
Top 2011 indie pickups:
“Seven Days in Heaven,” Uzumasa
“Wild Grass,” Iwanami Hall
“Loose Cannons,” Cetera
“The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner,” SPO
“Julia’s Eyes,” Presidio