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Japan Box Office Dips 3% in 2018, Holds Above $2 Billion

Cinema box office in Japan dropped by 3% last year to $2.04 billion. But 2018 was still the third-highest year on record.

According to data published by the Motion Picture Producers Assn. of Japan (Eiren), Japanese-produced films earned $1.12 billion, down 2.8% from 2017. They still grabbed a majority of the market for the 11th year in a row, with a 55% share. Admissions for the year totaled 169.2 million, also down 3%.

Bohemian Rhapsody” was the top film of the year, with earnings of $95 million. Released in Japan by 20th Century Fox on Nov. 9, the Freddie Mercury biopic had recorded 7.27 million admissions by its 75th day in the theaters. In a highly unusual trend, the film increased its weekly score five weeks in a row from its opening.

The biggest local hit, with $85 million, was “Code Blue the Movie,” a thriller about a helicopter medical rescue team based on a popular Fuji TV series. Ranking at No. 2 with $81 million was “Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer,” the 22nd installment in an anime feature series about a teenage detective trapped in a boy’s body. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” was the second-highest-earning foreign film and fourth overall, with $74 million.

Thirty-one Japanese films made JPY1 billion ($9.15 million) or more, considered the mark of a hit. The corresponding figure for foreign films was 23. The number of local films released was 613. There were 579 foreign titles released, for a total of 1,192. It was the sixth year in a row that annual releases exceeded 1,000.

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