In the week that figures showed Japanese industrial output plunged a record 9.6% during December (the highest monthly fall since records began in 1953), the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren) announced that total box office gross for the year fell by 1.8% to $2.16 billion (Y194.84 billion). Admissions fell by a similar proportion (1.7%), totalling 160.49 million in 2008.
On a positive note, locally made films shared 59.5% of the market, the highest such figure since 1969.
If you’ve not already visited, the Eiren web site comes highly recommended for its detailed historical data. It is one of the few trade bodies to publish market intelligence going back decades, in this case to 1955.
The site offers tables detailing, among other things, the number of Japanese cinema screens, the number of film releases, admissions, average ticket price, box office gross and local market share. A separate section also details the top performing titles in a year, going back to 2004.
I previously reported the year-end Russian box office gross for 2008, and thanks to a report in ScreenDaily we can now complete the story with news that 123.9 million tickets were sold during the year, up 16.2% on the 2007 total of 106.6 million. Russian films shared 25.5% of the total box office gross.
According to Patrick Frater, writing in Variety, China saw its box office gross grow by 27% in 2008, to $622 million, which makes it the tenth largest foreign market outside the US. Local films shared 60% of the market, according to official data.
In the same article, Frater quotes industry estimates suggesting the Indian box office fell by between 20%-40% (it’s very hard to get reliable box office numbers out of India). Unfortunately no other numbers are available.
Incidentally, Variety has published its list of top worldwide grossers in 2008. The table lists the top 99 performing titles, their US (‘domestic’) gross, foreign gross (from all the other territories the film was released in) and a combined ‘global’ gross.
You can expect much to be made of the fact that the top ten includes three blockbusting USA/UK productions (The Dark Knight, Mamma Mia! and Quantum of Solace), which between them took $2.1 billion at the global box office. But for my money the real highlight is Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (Welcome to the Sticks), a French comedy which made it to number 18 in the chart with a global gross of $244 million, just above High School Musical 3.