It's Official: Japanese People Prefer Japanese Films
The Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan announced their final box office tally for 2008 today. No prizes for guessing which film topped the list: Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (Gake no Ue no Ponyo) left everything else trailing in its wake, raking in approximately 15.50 billion yen (over US$172 million at current exchange rates). That was twice as much as the second highest-ranking film, TV spin-off Boys Over Flowers: Final (Hana Yori Dango Final, 7.75 billion yen). It was a bumper year for homegrown cinema in general, mind you. Other domestic flicks that hit gold at the box office included Suspect X (Yôgisha X no Kenshin, 4.92 billion yen), Partners: The Movie (Aibô Gekijôban, 4.44 billion yen), the first installment of 20th Century Boys (20 Seiki Shônen, 3.95 billion yen) and The Magic Hour (Za Majikku Awâ, 3.92 billion yen).
Hollywood, by contrast, didn't fare nearly so well. While admissions for domestic films were up 22%, they dropped by 24% for foreign movies. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out top, at 5.71 billion yen, followed closely by Red Cliff Part 1 at 5.05 billion yen - an unusually strong showing for an Asian film. Perhaps more surprisingly, US megahit The Dark Knight wheezed in at Number 16 in the foreign film rankings, with a mere 1.60 billion yen. To put things in perspective, that's even less than the godawful Jumper managed. I guess Hayden Christensen's onscreen visit to Tokyo paid off.