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The summer blockbuster is dead — or at least, it has ceased to exist as a distinct entity. Four decades after “Jaws” set the template for mass-market Hollywood spectacle, the so-called event movie has expanded its turf so dramatically that July and August, once the most fiercely contested box-office battlegrounds, are now mere blips in the calendar. Each year, the blockbuster season seems to start a little earlier: the first major contender of 2016, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” opened way back in March.

Of course, the season, such as it is, looks rather different when viewed from Japan. While rampant piracy has forced most of the world’s movie markets to fall in step with U.S. release schedules, distributors here enjoy an uncommon degree of flexibility. Some of the most hotly anticipated pictures of the summer, including “Jason Bourne” and “Star Trek Beyond,” won’t arrive on these shores until autumn. And many of the biggest earners over the coming months are likely to be homegrown productions, including the return of a bona fide screen legend.

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