Local baseball comedy Kisarazu Cats Eye: Sayonara Game grabbedthe number one spot at the weekend box office in Japan, out-grossing Clint Eastwood's WWII drama Flags Of Our Fathers.

The sequel in the popularsports comedy franchise grossed $2.57m (Y302m) on 244 screens, for a strong $10,532per screen average.

Flags Of Our Fathers ranked second with $1.6m (Y190m) from 291 sites,outperforming Eastwood's previous outings, MillionDollar Baby and Mystic River, butunable to match the homegrown Kisarazu.

Directed by Fumiki Kaneko,who helmed the previous installments, and written by famed screenwriter KankuroKudo (Zebraman, Ping Pong), Kisarazu followsa ragtag group of friends led by singer-actor Junichi Okada (Hana) in a coming-of-age story with atime-jumping narrative style and hyperkinetic baseball scenes.

The franchise began life asa TBS TV series in 2002, gaining little attention. Strong word-of-mouth boostedDVD sales and the first feature film, KisarazuCats' Eye: Go Major! was released the following year, gradually expandingfrom two screens to 127 and grossing $12.8m (Y1.5bn).

Flags Of Our Fathers got its international premiere as the opening filmof the Tokyo International Film Festival on October 21.

The second of the Eastwoodfilms, Letters From Iwo Jima, willreceive its world premiere at Tokyo's Budokan arena on November 15. It openstheatrically on December 9 and is slated for a February 9, 2007 release in the US.

TBS also produced recent boxoffice hit Sinking Of Japan andcurrent tearjerker release Nada Sou Sou -Tears For You, which has grossed over $20m in its first five weeks andholds the number three slot.