TOKYO – Ticket sales in Japan edged up fractionally in 2013, but total box office was down by a whisker.

Attendance climbed by 0.5% to 155.9 million, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren).

Box office in local currency dipped by 0.5% to Y194 billion.

The Japanese Yen has weakened considerably against the U.S. dollar in the past year as a result of government intervention. That has further depressed the dollar value of the Japanese B.O. to $1.89 billion.

A total of 1,117 movies were released, the first time that this number exceeded 1,000. Of these, 591 were domestic and 526 foreign.

Japanese pictures grabbed a 61% share of the 2013 B.O., which represents an 8% drop decline compared with 2012. Of all domestic pics, 34 achieved Y1 billion ($9.74 million), generally considered the marker of a commercial hit. Only 21 foreign pictures achieved that score.

The number one earner for the year was the Hayao Miyazaki toon “The Wind Rises” with $117 million, the only 2013 pic to pass the $100 million mark and the first Japanese film in five years to take the top spot.

Number two was Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters University,” while number three was “One Piece Z,” the latest entry in the popular kids’ animation series, with $67 million.

Toho once again claimed the title of leading domestic distributor with B.O. earnings of $656 million, the fourth highest in company history. But it is unclear whether the company can keep racking up such strong numbers in the absence of Miyazaki, who retired from feature animation directing in September after making big earners for Toho and his Studio Ghibli toon house for two decades.

Other local animated movies also appeared in the B.O. top ten, including new entries in the Doraemon, Detective Conan and Pocket Monsters franchises. After “Monsters University” the two highest ranking foreign pictures were “Les Miserables” ($57 million) and “Ted” ($41 million), both distributed by Toho-Towa.

The number of cinema screens rose to 3,318, compared with 3,290 the previous year.
Eiren considers pictures released in December of 2012 as belonging to the 2013 B.O. list.