2010 Film Industry Statistics

The Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren) released their statistics for the film industry for 2010. You can compare them to those from 2009.

The results are again good for Japanese film, and a bit better as a whole for the industry compared to last year. Total box office went up 7.1% to 220.7 billion yen (a record), with attendance climbing 3% to 174 million. Japanese films again beat foreign films at the box office 53.6% to 46.4%, their lead declining slightly again but still winning in four out of the last five years. The box office for Japanese films rose only 0.8% to 118 billion yen, which means that the expansion in the industry was largely in foreign films. The total number of films released declined again, from 762 to 716, with the number for Japanese films also declining from 448 to 408. The average ticket price increased by 49 yen to 1266 yen (probably due to 3-D), while the number of screens continued to increase (to 3412 from 3396).

15 Japanese films earned more than 20 billion yen at the 2010 box office, less than the 18 from 2009. Of the top 20 films, 15 were distributed by Toho, with Arrietty, Umizaru 3 The Last MessageBayside Shakedown 3, One Piece, Pokemon, and part one of Nodame Cantabile being the six to top 40 billion (all were distributed by Toho except for One Piece). Unlike last year, the top film at the BO was not Japanese: Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, and Toy Story 3 all beat Arrietty (though in part through 3-D prices).

The increase in total attendance and BO is a good sign given the economy (and the rise in attendance signals that the increased income is not just coming from overpriced 3-D films). The total BO was the highest on record and attendance the best figure since 1974. The question remains whether this rise is sufficient to satisfy the continued increase in the number of screens. The BO in 2004 was 210 billion, but there were about 600 fewer screens, meaning there is now less income per screen. Income per screen probably increased over last year, but it was likely the multiplexes showing 3-D that took in the bulk share of that increase. In 2004, 1766 of the 2825 screens were in multiplexes (about 63%), but now it is 2774 of 3412 (81%). 2010 saw many reports of mini-theaters specializing in independent or art movies closing down. Multiplexes can spread income per screen over several screens or the larger theater chain, but mini-theaters cannot. Many feel these are dire times for indie and art cinema in Japan, especially since the multiplexes are not showing those films as they once promised to.

The fact that Toho continues its almost monopolistic dominance remains a sign of concern. Shochiku had only 3 films in the top 29 and Toei 5 (Warners had 2). Eiren also noted that sales for DVDs and videos went down about 7.2% (a continuation from last year). DVDs are just not providing that extra income they promised. 

So it was a good and bad 2010: a record-setting year, but with the bounty not being evenly distributed.

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