TOKYO – Total Japanese box office earnings in 2014, were the third highest this century.
According to figures released on Tuesday by the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren), attendance climbed by 3.4% compared to 2013 and hit 161 million.
Eiren’s data in local currency terms shows a 6.6% gain, with gross box office takings rising from JPY194 billion in 2013 to JPY207 billion in 2014.
Since Eiren started collecting data in 2000, only 2010 and 2004 were higher, with totals of JPY210 billion and JPY211 billion respectively.
But with the Japanese Yen on a big slide over the past year, the U.S. dollar value of the Japanese box office dropped from US$1.89 billion in 2013 to US$1.79 billion in 2014.
The increases in admissions and local currency taking came despite a 5% increase in consumption tax that was widely expected to negatively impact movie-going, but fans turned out regardless.
One factor was the enormous popularity of “Frozen,” the biggest hit of the year and third-biggest of all time, which earned $216 million following its March bow. The number one live-action and domestic hit was Takashi Yamazaki’s WWII kamikaze drama “The Eternal Zero” with $74 million.
Local films accounted for 58% of the box office, down from 61% the year before.
Eight of the top ten BO pics were Japanese. Also, a total of 31 Japanese films earned the JPY1 billion (US$8.5 million) considered the benchmark of a commercial hit, while the similar figure for foreign films was only 18.