Comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto's debut film Dai Nipponjin has beaten veteran helmer Takeshi Kitano's Kantoku Banzai! at the Japanese box office.

Dai Nipponjin earned $1.86m (Y226.9m) to grab the number two position behind Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End while Kantoku Banzai! (Glory To The Filmmaker!) grossed $333,501 (Y40.6m), just managing to secure the bottom spot in the weekend's top ten.

Office Kitano-Tokyo Theatre opened Kitano's 13th feature on 113 screens, while Shochiku released Matsumoto's debut on 221 screens. But Kantoku Banzai!'s per screen average fell well under its rival. Special Friday preview screenings of Dai Nipponjin were added one day before (June 1).

Dai Nipponjin remained under a veil of secrecy in its home territory, with no press screenings until after its world premiere in Cannes ' Directors' Fortnight section. Kantoku Banzai!, repped by dreamachine, failed to garner a slot in any category, though Kitano's three-minute contribution to To Each His Own Cinema garnered strong reviews.

Domestically, Matsumoto and Kitano are the country's two most famous comedians, representing western and eastern Japan respectively. Matsumoto is known for his long-standing interest in cinema, writing a regular review column and having published several books about movies.

Kitano is well established worldwide, having received such accolades as a Golden Lion for Hanabi in 1997.