'Dark Knight Rises' Opens Big in Japan But Falls to Local Film

Dark Knight Rises Batman at Night Still - H 2012
Warner Bros.

Dark Knight Rises Batman at Night Still - H 2012

Japanese films continue to dominate box office in first half of year, taking seven of top 10 slots in revenue rankings.

TOKYO – Dark Knight Rises failed to knock local hit Brave Hearts Umizaru off the top spot in its opening weekend in Japan, but still managed to take in 455 million yen ($5.83 million) despite only limited preview screenings on Friday evening and competition from Olympics coverage.

Opening on 546 screens across Japan, Dark Knight Rising, as it is known locally, pulled in 331,668 admissions in its first three days. There has been little visible extra security at theaters in Japan for screenings of the movie following the shootings in Aurora, Colo., with Japan's ultra-strict firearm laws meaning very few guns are in circulation.

In third place in the weekend rankings was another new release, TV anime spin-off Road to Ninja Naruto The Movie, taking in 321 million yen ($4.1 million) from 250,000 admissions at 262 screens.

Brave Hearts Umizaru, the fourth in a series about a crack team of coastguard rescue divers (Umizaru means sea monkeys – a nickname for the divers) has now grossed almost 3.81 billion yen ($48.8 million) in its three-week run, with nearly 3 million admissions. This takes the total box office for the series, based around the daring exploits of Daisuke Senzaki, played by Hideaki Ito, to well north of $250 million. The previous film in the series, Umizaru: The Last Message, was billed as the final installment and took 8.4 billion yen ($110 million).

Domestic movies continue to beat out foreign productions at the box office in the first half of the year, with Men in Black III the best Hollywood performer in fifth place in the revenue rankings, with $39 million. The Amazing Spider-Man ($33 million) and Dark Shadows ($27 million), were the only other imports to make the top ten.

Total box office for the major distributors was just over $1 billion from January to June 2012.
Twitter: @GavinJBlair