2015 was a good year for Japan. Even though no movie reached the famous ￥10 billion ($85 million) mark which is the traditional definition of a blockbuster in the Japanese market, the Japanese box office was up 5.2%, to $1.84 billion (￥217.11 billion) in 2015. Interestingly, the admissions were up by 3.4% to 166.7 million, and also average ticket prices (bad news for spectators) went up by 1.4% to $11 (￥1,303) due to the rising number of 3D, IMAX and high-end screens.
The top two grossing films of the year in Japan were American: “Jurassic World”, with $81 million (￥9.53 billion) and “Big Hero 6” with $77.8 million (￥9.18 billion) followed by the first Japanese title: “Yokai-watch” a Japanese anime and merchandising franchise series. The film reached an impressive $66.1 million (￥7.8 billion).
The Japanese industry imported less movies in 2015 from 615 to 581 meaning less movies on screens 1,136 films in 2015 from 1,184 in 2014. This makes the numbers even more relevant. The number of screens grew by 73 to 3,437.
Japanese movies are popular outside of their borders. The revenue from exports grew 50% to $116.6 million, due also to the great success of the film “Stand by Me Doraemon” in China where the movie made more than $100 million. The film marked the first Japanese release in the Chinese market and will inspire the export of more Japanese productions.
The other big revenue source were the Other Digital Stuff, referring to screenings of concerts, plays and other performances, both live and recorded. The ODS market grew nearly 50% to $130 million (￥15 billion) last year.
The current box office champ is Star Wars: The Force Awakens which is on course to hit the famous ￥10 billion ($85 million) mark which will make it an official blockbuster.