Hollywood movies are known to be the dominant market in a lot of places outside the United States. But in Japan, the glamour of the big American blockbusters seems to be fading the past few years, and instead, domestic movies have been taking a large piece of the moviegoing pie. For the fifth straight year, foreign films have not crossed the 50% marker in terms of movie market share.
Just 10 years ago, foreign films released in Japan had an average 67% market share, with $1.4 billion gross sales. But by 2012, that has plummeted to 34.3% ($689 million). U.S.-based media consultant Geoffrey Bossiere believes that one of the major reasons for the disenchantment with Hollywood movies is that lately, they are usually about violence, destruction and ear-splitting effects and music. He believes that this does not have an appeal to the modern Japanese audience anymore. Even movies like Pacific Rim (inspired by kaijus) and The Wolverine (shot majorly in Japan), with their connection to Japanese culture have failed to make a dent in the box office, earning just an average of $10 million each. Another film executive says that the movies are too narrowly targeted at just the young men, while the moviegoing public are more attracted to family oriented pictures, as evidenced by the success of Pixar’s “Monsters University”.
Meanwhile, while Hollywood movies are taking a beating, the domestic movie industry has been benefitting from this trend. Any release by Studio Ghibli is already a sure-fire hit, and famed director Hayao Miyazaki‘s latest and last full-length film, “The Wind Rises” is projected to earn almost $150 million overall. In the second week of October, Hirokazu Koreeda’s critically-acclaimed “Like Father, Like Son” was number one at the domestic box-office, earning $21 million. This trend may have very well started in 2006 when Japanese films took the majority of the market share at 52.3% for the first time in 21 years. With the current success of films like Miyazaki’s and Koreeda’s, 2013 will probably end up a banner year for Japanese films, box-office wise.
[ via Variety ]
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