Japanese films soar at home in 2008

'Ponyo' leads domestic films to a 59.5% market share

BANGKOK -- Annual boxoffice revenue for Japanese movies rose 22.4% in 2008 to a record 115.86 billion yen ($1.29 billion), boosted by the hit animated film "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea" by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.

This was a stark contrast with ticket sales for imports, which declined 23.9% from 2007 to 78.98 billion yen, the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan said Thursday.

Combined revenue was down slightly from 2007, sliding 1.8% to 194.84 billion yen.

On its own, "Ponyo" grossed 15.5 billion yen for distributor Toho, well ahead of the top import, Paramount's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which sold tickets worth 5.7 billion yen.

Japanese movies took home 59.5% of all boxoffice revenue in 2008, while imports took only 40.5%.

According to MPPAJ data, the top-ranking Japanese films at the boxoffice in 2008 were, in billion yen:

1. "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea," 15.5 billion, released: July, Toho
2. "Boys Over Flowers," 7.8, June, Toho
3. "Suspect X," 4.9, October, Toho
4. "Pokemon: Giratina & The Sky Warrior," 4.8, July, Toho
5. "Partners: The Movie," 4.4, May, Toei
6. "20th Century Boys -- Chapter 1," 3.9, August, Toho
7. "The Magic Hour," 3.9, June, Toho
8. "Doraemon Nobita To Midori No Kyojinden," 3.4, March, Toho
9. "A tale of Mari and Three Puppies," 3.2, December 2007, Toho
10. "L change the WorLd," 3.1, February, Warner Bros.

The top-ranking 2008 imports at Japan's boxoffice were, in billion yen:

1. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," 5.7, released: June, Paramount
2. "Red Cliff," 5.1, November, Toho-Towa/AVEX
3. "I Am Legend," 4.3, December 2007, Warner Bros.
4. "The Golden Compass," 3.8, March, Shochuku/Gaga
5. "Hancock," 3.1, August, Sony Pictures Entertainment
6. "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," 3.0, May, Disney
7. "Enchanted," 2.9, March, Disney
8. "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," 2.6, December 2007, Disney
9. "Wanted," 2.5, September, Toho-Towa
10. "Earth," 2.4, January, Gaga