Japan Box Office: 2015 Revenue Up 5.2 Percent to $1.84 Billion

'Jurassic World'
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

'Jurassic World' and 'Big Hero 6' were the top earners for Hollywood, which grew its overall share to 46.6 percent.

The Japanese box office was up 5.2 percent, to $1.84 billion (217.11 billion) in 2015, while the growth in local currency terms was 4.9 percent. Hollywood’s share grew to 44.6 percent from 42 percent in 2014, according to figures released Tuesday by the Motion Pictures Producers Association of Japan (MPPAJ).

Both admissions, up 3.4 percent to 166.7 million, and average ticket prices, up by 1.4 percent to $11 (1,303) due to the rising number of 3D, IMAX and high-end screens, showed growth.

However, no film, Japanese or Hollywood, breached the ¥10 billion ($85 million) mark that was the traditional definition of a blockbuster in the domestic market. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently on course to hit that mark for this year.

Jurassic World, with $81 million (¥9.53 billion), and Big Hero 6, with $77.8 million (¥9.18 billion), were the top two grossing films, irrespective of origin.

The biggest Japanese earner was the first film in the Yokai-watch anime and merchandising franchise series, with $66.1 million (¥7.8 billion). Hollywood’s increase in share is a particularly good result, given the massive $250 million box office of Frozen in 2014.

A total of 1,136 films were released in 2015, down slightly from 1,184 in 2014; imports fell to 581 from 615. The number of screens grew by 73 to 3,437.

The biggest growth was seen in revenue from exports, which grew 50 percent to $116.6 million, but much of that was accounted for by Stand by Me Doraemon's release in China, where it took more than $100 million. It was the first Japanese release in the world's fastest-growing film market, and the evident demand represents a major opportunity for the domestic film industry if it can negotiate distribution for more productions.

Another bright spot was the sector referred to as ODS (Other Digital Stuff) -- covering screenings of concerts, plays and other performances, both live and recorded -- which grew nearly 50 percent to $130 million (¥15 billion) last year. 

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