Written by Mark Schilling
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
TOKYO -- Toho, Japan's number one distrib and exhib, has had its best-ever B.O. September in its 75-year history, the company announced on Monday.
The B.O. for the month, Y7.5 billion ($63.9 million), beat the company total for September 2001, when Japan's biggest-ever BO hit, "Spirited Away," was still drawing packed crowds. (The Hayao Miyazaki toon went on to finish with $260 million.) This represents a 204.5 percent year-on gain.
The prime mover behind the splendid numbers was the Fuji TV smash "Hero," now in its fifth week of topping the B.O. and soaring past the Y7 billion ($60 million) mark. The pic, based on a hit Fuji series from 2001, features local megastar Takuya Kimura as a renegade DA. Toho expects "Hero" to hit Y10 billion ($85.5 million), challenging "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" for the top of the Japanese B.O. in 2007. Only four Japanese live-action pics, including "Hero" producer Chihiro Kameyama's two "Bayside Shakedown" cop caper pics, have ever crossed the Y10 billion line.
Also boosting the Toho bottom line in September are "Monkey Magic," a Fuji TV kiddie fantasy that has earned Y4.3 billion ($36.7 million), the latest "Pokemon" toon, which has passed the Y5 billion ($42.7 million) milestone, and the TBS weeper "Closed Note," which is expected to finish with more than Y1.5 billion ($12.8 million) despite being dissed by star in Erika Sawajiri in a widely reported -- and vilified -- opening day stage appearance.
Despite these and other hits, Toho's total for the first nine months of the year, Y42 billion, ($361 million), is down 18.4 percent compared with the same period in 2006 -- when Japanese pics grabbed more than a 50 percent market share for the first time in 21 years.
Article at: http://www.varietyasiaonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4700&Itemid=53