Japanese Film Industry Statistics for 2013

For those interested, Eiren (the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan) has released the official statistics for the film industry in 2013. The Japanese summary is here; for English, you have to scroll down to the bottom of this table for the 2013 figures, or click here to see the box office leaders.

There's not much change from 2012. Total BO is slightly down, while total attendance is slightly up. The market share for Japanese films went down from 65.7% to 60.6%, but still remains strong, since the last time Japanese films kept foreign films under 40% for consecutive years was 1968–1969. The number of screens increased slightly to 3318, the most they've had since 1970. The average ticket price went down to 1246 yen (which is not what you pay at the theater—it's the average of all the tickets sold at different prices), which likely means that more are taking advantage of discount screenings or price specials (like ladies' day, etc.). 

The problem again is that the number of films released increased once more: 1117 total (up from 983), with 591 being Japanese films (up from 554). That's the highest number in history and an average of 21 films opening each week. Some of this is due the fact that they started including so-called ODS (Other Digital Stuff), like screenings of live events in movie theaters, in the stats, but part of it is due to showings of more low-budget digital works in very short runs.

What that means, especially with a lower total BO, is that each film is getting less money and publicity; and with the only marginal increase in screens, each film is getting less time on screen. WIth live events, that might not matter as much, and perhaps makers of a digital art video will be glad to show their work anywhere even if it's just for a week in the late show. But this trend began before they started counting ODS, so the fear remains that the market is over-saturated. And with Toho distributing 20 of the top 30 Japanese films (Toei had 5 and Shochiku only 1; Warners had 3), the fundamental imbalance of the industry continues. Not many people other than Toho are making money.

Eiren also released the list of the top box office films. Miyazaki Hayao's Kaze tachinu/The Wind Rises was the number one film, making over 12 billion yen, with animation dominating the top ten, claiming 6 of 10 spots. Of the live action films at the top, most were movie versions of TV dramas like The After-Dinner Mysteries or Midsummer's Equation. One exception was Koreeda Hirokazu's Like Father, Like Son, which came in at number seven—a first for Koreeda-san—but you have to remember that that was co-produced by FujiTV, one of the major networks. TV continues to dominate the Japanese film industry.

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