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Japan’s Annual Box Office Climbs By 4% in 2015

TOKYO – The Japanese box office was up in 2015 in admissions, local currency and dollar terms. Most of the gain went to Hollywood, the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren) reported on Tuesday.

In local currency terms overall theatrical revenues were up by 4.8% from JPY207 billion in 2014 to JPY217 billion in 2015.

Despite a weakening Yen, that still converted into a gain when measured in US dollars., up from $1.79 billion to $1.84 billion.

Audience numbers were also up 4% from 161 million to 167 million.

Revenues for foreign films increased 12% to $820 million (JPY96.7 billion), while the take for the local product held steady at $1.02 billion (JPY120.3 billion). Domestic films accounted for the majority of ticket sales, but with market share at 55.4%, that was the second successive decline, down from 58% in 2014 and 61% in 2013.

The box office winner for the year was Toho-Towa’s “Jurassic World,” with $81 million, followed by Disney’s “Big Hero 6” with $78 million. The highest earning Japanese film was the animation “Yo-Kai Watch the Movie: The Secret is Created, Nyan!” with $66 million.

A total of 38 Japanese films reached or exceeded the JPY1 billion ($8.5 million) mark, traditionally considered the measure of a commercial hit in the Japanese market. The similar figure for foreign films was 22.

Once again the dominant domestic distributor was Toho, which accounted for all of the top-five local films by earnings. On the foreign side, Toho-Towa and Disney split top-five box office honors, with two films each.

The total number of releases fell from 1,184 in 2014 to 1,136 in 2015, with domestic films sliding from 615 to 581 and foreign films from 569 to 555.

The number of screens grew slightly from 3,364 in 2014 to 3,437 in 2015.

“Nobunaga Concert” (Nobunaga Concerto), a time-travel period actioner based on a popular TV series, topped the Japanese box office for the Jan. 23-24 weekend. With Toho distributing, the film earned $5.2 million.

Meanwhile, the box office leader for three weeks, Disney’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” slipped to number two with $2.2 million. Its cumulative total now stands at $81 million on 6.16 million admissions.

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