The box office champion of the year was “Beauty and the Beast” with $114 million, compared with $63 million for the highest-earning 2017 Japanese film, a feature entry in the “Detective Conan” animation franchise.
A total of 38 Japanese films earned JPY1 billion ($9.2 million) or higher – the traditional benchmark of a commercial hit in Japan, while only 24 foreign films achieved this milestone. Even so, the market share claimed by local films declined to 55%, compared with 63% the year before.
The leading local Hollywood distributor was Disney, with four films in the foreign top ten, followed by Toho-Towa, which releases the Universal slate in Japan, with three. The top local distributor was Toho, with seven of the top ten films in the local column.
The number of theatrical releases remained nearly unchanged at 1,187, with 594 Japanese and 593 foreign films hitting screens. This compared with 610 and 539, respectively, the previous year, the reversal of a long-standing trend for growth in local production, decline in foreign releases.
The number of cinema screens rose to 3,525, compared with 3,472 the year before.