Japanese admissions and box office fell slightly in 2002, despite a rise in the number of screens, according to figures compiled by the Motion Pictures Producers Association of Japan.

Without a mega-hit like Spirited Away -- which broke all Japanese box office records in 2001, admissions dipped 1.5% year-on-year to 160.8 mand box office revenues fell 1.7% to $1.67bn (Y196.8bn). Foreign films accounted for 73% of total revenues or $1.2bn (Y143.5bn), while local films took 27% or $451m (Y53.3bn).

Last year 640 films were released in Japan, compared with 630 in 2001. The number of Japanese releases rose slightly, to 293, while foreign releases remained nearly unchanged at 347.

The number of screens increased by 50, to 2,635, indicating further slowing of the multiplex building boom of the 1990s. The average ticket price was $10.37 (Y1,224), nearly the same as the previous year.

In 2002, 31 foreign releases and 17 Japanese titles grossed one bn yen ($8.4 million) or more. The top seven box office hits were all foreign, led by both instalments in the Harry Potter franchise. The two Harry Potter films were both included in the 2002 totals, even though Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone was released in December of 2001.

The highest-grossing Japanese film was the Studio Ghibli animation The Cat Returns (Neko no Ongaeshi) with $54.7m (Y6.46bn), followed by Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street (Meitantei Conan: Baker-gai no Borei), with $28.8m (Y3.4 bn).

Japanese box office top ten

Title/Gross/Distributor (Exchange rate: $1 = Y118)
1. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone/$172m (Y2.03 bn)/Warner
2. Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets/$152.5m (Y18 bn)/Warner
3. Monsters, Inc./ $79.4m (Y9.37 bn)/Buena Vista
4. Star Wars Episode 2/$79.2m (Y9.35 bn)/Fox
5. Lord Of The Rings/$76.9m (Y9.07 bn)/Herald, Shochiku
6. Spider-Man/$63.6m (Y7.50 bn)/SPE
7. Ocean's 11/$59.3m (Y7.0 bn)/Warner
8. The Cat Returns (Neko no Ongaeshi)/ $54.7m (Y6.46 bn)/Toho
9. Men In Black II/ $33.9m (Y4.0 bn)/SPE
10. I Am Sam/$29.3 m (Y3.46 bn )/Shochiku/Asmik Ace