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Popular Anime Boost Japan’s Film Industry
[2018.05.30]

Foreign films once enjoyed strong popularity in Japan, but over the past 10 years their revenue has been outpaced by that of Japanese films.

Box-office revenue for films shown in Japan in 2017 was ¥228.6 billion, according to the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, which is composed of the country’s four main film production companies. This is the second highest figure since comparative data began to be collected in 2000, only trailing the result in 2016. There was a total of 174.5 million moviegoers in 2017.

Foreign films had long dominated the Japanese film market, from the 1970s, but over the past 10 years their box-office revenue has trailed that of Japanese films. Animated films in particular have been driving the strong performance of the Japanese film industry. Box-office revenue in 2016 was boosted by the megahit anime Your Name, which earned ¥25.0 billion, and animated features accounted for six of the top ten films in 2017. The two top grossing anime in 2017 were the latest releases in the Case Closed series featuring Detective Conan and Doraemon, which earned, respectively, ¥6.9 billion and ¥4.4 billion. Both series have a loyal following that keeps them in the top ten at the box office every year.

Japanese live-action films can also become major hits. The new film Shoplifters directed by Koreeda Hirokazu, was awarded the coveted Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and is expected to be a big draw when it opens in Japan next month. Koreeda’s 2013 film Like Father, Like Son won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and was the seventh top-grossing film in Japan that year, earning ¥3.2 billion at the box office.

Top-five Foreign and Japanese Films for 2017 Box-office Earnings (¥ billion)

Japanese films

Detective Conan: The Crimson Love Letter 6.9
Doraemon the Movie 2017:
Nobita’s Great Adventure in the Antarctic Kachi Kochi
4.4
Gintama 3.8
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! 3.6
Let Me Eat Your Pancreas 3.5

Foreign films

Beauty and the Beast 12.4
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 7.3
Despicable Me 3 7.3
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 6.7
Moana 5.1

Compiled by Nippon.com based on data from the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: © Pixta.)

  • [2018.05.30]
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