Japanese flicks set box-office record but ticket sales continue to slump

Kyodo

Japanese-made movies grossed a record ¥128.2 billion at domestic theaters in 2012, marking their highest returns since 2000, when the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan began releasing the data.

The result is a 28.8 percent rise on the previous year, the industry group said Wednesday. Total box office revenues including foreign films came to ¥195.2 billion, up 7.7 percent from 2011, when ticket sales slumped in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March that year.

Japanese productions accounted for 65.7 percent of the gross revenue, outpacing foreign films for the fifth consecutive year, the group said. Behind the declining popularity of foreign films appeared to be a lack of major 3-D Hollywood productions, such as “Avatar,” released in late 2009.

Nobuyoshi Otani, president of the association, described the combined total as “not so auspicious.”

“The gross box office revenue grew from the previous year but the sum ranks 10th in size since 2000,” he said.

Five works grossed over ¥5 billion, including the No. 1 “Brave Hearts Umizaru” (“Brave Hearts Sea Monkeys”) at ¥7.33 billion, it said. The only foreign movie was “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” which raked in ¥5.38 billion, it said.