Japanese Film Industry Statistics for 2014

Eiren (the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan) has again released the official statistics for the film industry in 2014. The Japanese summary is here; for English, you have to scroll down to the bottom of this table for the 2014 figures. Click here to see the box office leaders in English.

Things have improved slightly from 2014. The total BO rose 6.6%, and total attendance 3.4%. The market share for Japanese films went down from 60.6% to 58.3%, largely due to the immense success of Frozen (which pulled in 25.8 billion yen), but this is the seventh consecutive year the domestic films have beat the foreign ones. The number of screens increased slightly to 3364, with the percentage of those screens being in multiplexes reaching a record 86.5% (single screen theaters, such as mini-theaters, are really dying out). The average ticket price rose to 1246 yen, the highest amount ever (it had not risen over 1260 since 2010).  Perhaps Abe's inflationary policies are reaching the movie theaters. 

Forgive me if I sound like a broken record, but the problem again is that the number of films released increased again to an insane 1184 (up from 1117), with 615 being Japanese films (up from 591). That's again the highest number in history and an average of 23 films opening each week. This does include so-called ODS (Other Digital Stuff), such as digital screenings of live events in movie theaters, but without a breakdown of what is what it is hard to judge this figure. There are still claims that part of the rise is due to more showings of low-budget digital works in very short runs.

With the rise in the total BO, the average BO per film did rise slightly, but the top 31 Japanese films accounted for 68.1% of the total Japanese box office, leaving only 31.9% for the remaining 584 films. The number of films topping 1 billion yen in ticket sales went down but Toho still distributes two thirds of them (20 of 31), with Shochiku and Toei not getting a single film in the top ten (of the remaining 11, Shochiku had 5, Toei 4, and Warners 2). People are starting to talk about social inequality (kakusa shakai) in Japan. Well, that already exists in the movie industry.

It was also a great year for Yamazaki Takashi, who directed the top two films, The Eternal Zero and Stand By Me Doraemon. Animation again took 6 of the top 10 spots, and sequels and film versions of popular TV shows still dominated. 

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