Tally up 7.1% while admissions up 3%; local films have 53% market share.

According to annual data published today by The Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren), overall box office revenues for 2010 totaled $2.66b (Y220.74b), a 7.1% increase from 2009’s $2.48b (Y206.04b). The total marks the highest ever overall revenue in the territory’s history, cracking 220 billion yen for the first time.

The figure represents earnings on 174.36 million admissions, a 3% increase on 2009’s 169.3 million. The widening difference between admissions and box office can be attributed to higher-priced 3D movie of the year’s top three grossing films – Avatar, Alice In Wonderland and Toy Story 3, as well as local megahit Umizaru 3: The Last Message. The admissions mark the highest number since 1974.

The trend was reflected in a higher average ticket price of $15.25 (Y1266) from $14.63 (Y1214) in 2009. Exhibitor-distributor Toho recently announced a trial plan to reduce the standard ticket price from 1,800 yen to 1,500 to boost admissions.

Despite a Hollywood comeback of sorts, local films retained a majority of 53.6%, down from 56.9% last year, totaling $1.42b (Y118.22b).

Earnings of Hollywood and other imported releases increased for the second year in a row, by 3.3%, for a total of $1.24b (Y102.52b). Along with the aforementioned Hollywood performers, Toy Story 3, UP! and Resident Evil: Extinction and Inception also contributing.

Toho continued its local domination in the territory with for the eighth consecutive year with record earnings of $944.58m (Y78.4b), representing 35.5% of the overall market. Toho released nine of the year’s top ten releases, led by Studio Ghibli’s The Borrowers $111.45m (Y9.25b).

The number of films imported into the territory decreased slightly to 308 titles from 314 while locally released titles dropped more drastically to 408 from 2009’s uptick of 448. The figure also includes 35mm adult films (“pink films”) exhibited theatrically, which numbered 59 in 2010.

2010 saw further bankruptcies of small-medium distributors and ongoing art house cinema closures, contributing to overall decrease in specialty acquisitions. Korean imports (traditionally second most numerous after Hollywood titles) made a strong comeback with 38 titles, up 15 titles from last year in addition to seven Japan-Korea co-productions.

Nationwide screen count increased to 3,412 from 3,396. Multiplex construction has continued to slow down in recent years as admissions haven’t significantly grown. 

Video industry revenues (rental and sales) continued to contract severely, falling by 7.2% to $3.65b (Y302.6b).