TOKYO — The Japanese biz has been hit hard by Friday’s quake and tsunami, with total B.O. for March 12-13 down by 41% from the previous weekend, according to figures compiled by Rentrak Corp.
Opening on the day after the quake, the security police thriller “SP Kakumeihen” topped the chart with $3.6 million from 406,288 admissions and 239 screens. This compares with $6.56 million from 406,288 admissions and 394 screens for the previous “SP” pic, released last year.
The main reason for the decline in screens was the decision of exhibs to close their theaters in quake-stricken northern Japan.
Also bowing at the weekend was the Disney toon “Tangled,” which ranked third with $1.77 million on 370 screens.
The only other newcomer to the top 10 was “Nintama Rantaro,” a locally produced kiddie action toon released by Warner Japan. Ranking at number nine, it earned a weak $257,105 on 90 screens.
Other Hollywood pics in the top 10 recorded steep week-on drops, including 66.2% for “Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” (number four at $1.43 million), 63.9% for “Twisted” (number five with $1.38 million) and 72.5% for “The King’s Speech” (number six with $449, 371).
The dismal figures are likely to continue for some time, even into summer, as exhibs close theaters and cut back on screenings in reaction to power blackouts, transportation stoppages and fuel shortages. Normally with the nation’s schools closing for spring break, this is a peak B.O. season, but the local biz has instead gone into survival mode.
Also pics with content that might disturb disaster-traumatized auds are now verboten at the Japanese B.O. Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter” has been pulled from theaters for its depiction of the devastating 2004 Sumatra tsunami, while Warner’s shocker “The Rite” and Sony’s alien invasion pic “Battle: Los Angeles” have had their releases pushed back.