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The Japanese box office grew 6.6 percent in 2014, grossing $1.75 billion (?207 billion) with Hollywood’s share rising to 42 percent, according to figures released Tuesday by the Motion Pictures Producers Association of Japan (MPPAJ).
Frozen was the biggest earner at the box office, clocking up nearly a quarter of a billion dollars (?25.4 billion) and accounting for more than 10 percent of 2014’s total takings on its way to becoming the third-biggest film in Japanese cinematic history. Way behind in second place was Eternal Zero (Eien no Zero), the somewhat controversial tale of a kamikaze pilot based on a best-selling book by a nationalist author, with $74 million (?8.76 billion).
Both Eternal Zero and the third-biggest film last year, 3D animation Stand by Me Doraemon, with $71 million (?8.38 billion), were directed by Takashi Yamazaki and released by Toho, which continued its usual dominance of local releases. Twenty-four of the 31 local films that earned more than ?1 billion ($8.5 million) came from the integrated studio and distributor. Toho also released Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla, which scored a solid $27 million (?3.2 billion) and inspired the home studio of the monster to resurrect the Japanese end of the franchise with a local production.
Hollywood’s share was boosted by Frozen‘s massive success, pushing it up from 39 percent in 2013, which had been up from a decades-low 34 percent in 2012. It was a big year for Walt Disney Studios Japan, with Maleficent the second-biggest earning import at $55.3 million (?6.54 billion).
Admissions were up by 3.4 percent to 161 million, with average ticket prices growing 3.1 percent to $10.86 (?1,285), driven in part by 3D and IMAX screenings.
The number of screens showed a small rise for the second year in a row, to 3,364, according to the MPPAJ, known locally as Eiren. There were a total of 1,184 films released last year, 615 local productions and 569 imports, both up from 2013, when the 1,000 mark was broken for the first time.
Last year’s total box office exceeded ?200 billion for the first time since 2010. The total was ?194 billion in 2013, which is $1.64 billion at today’s exchange rates; the yen has fallen sharply against the dollar over the last 12 months.
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