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Japan poised to set box office record in 2010

‘Avatar’ exceeded 10 billion yen at the box office

TOKYO (TR) – Japan is looking to enjoy its best year ever at the box office, according to figures compiled by the Nikkei newspaper.

Boosted by the popularity of 3D pics, including the local smash “Umizaru 3: The Last Message,” distrib Toho’s latest installment in the action series featuring the Japan Coast Guard, total box office receipts for 2010 may pass the 220-billion-yen ($2.63 billion) mark. This would beat the all-time (non-inflation-adjusted) record set 2004 — 210.9 billion yen ($2.52 billion).

Boosted by the premium for 3D tickets, three Hollywood 3D pics surpassed the 10-billion-yen ($120 million) milestone: “Avatar,” “Alice In Wonderland” and “Toy Story 3.”

From January to October, box office takings totaled $2.14 billion for a 13 percent gain over the same period last year. Also, 57 pics earned more than 1 billion yen ($12 million), long considered the mark of a hit in the Japanese market, as of November 28. This compares with 46 last year. This is also the second straight year that the BO has registered year-on gains.