'Departures' arrives at Japan boxoffice

Domestic gross hits $41 mil after Oscar winner's rerelease

Related: 'Departures' looks to take off post-Oscars

TOKYO -- Oscar winner "Departures" returned to Japanese theaters over the weekend, claiming the No. 1 boxoffice ranking that eluded it during its release in September and pushing its total domestic gross to the 4 billion yen ($41 million) mark.

Distributor Shochiku now expects Yojiro Takita's foreign-language Academy Award winner to make the kind of boxoffice impact in the rest of Asia that Japanese films usually struggle to achieve.

"The figures for Saturday to Monday take the total boxoffice to 3.95 billion yen. So including today, it should be over 4 billion yen now," Shochiku's Koji Kumagai told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday.

Shochiku has been left short of prints as the film's Oscar win has suddenly boosted interest in Japan and overseas.

"We don't have enough prints to go around," Kumagai said. "With the ones that have been sent overseas, plus a few that have been damaged from being in use since September -- we can't keep up with demand at the moment."

"Departures" opened in Taiwan on Feb. 27, bows in Singapore on Thursday and Hong Kong on March 19. "It's already a hit in Taiwan, and we will be at Hong Kong Filmart, with star Masahiro Motoki, on the 23rd, so we have high hopes for the film in Asia now," international sales chief Kiwamu Sato said.

Pre-orders for the DVD, due this month, totaled 100,000 last week alone, while an extra 150,000 copies of the book the movie is based on, have been printed.
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