The Last Samurai took an impressive $8.6m (Y920,354,300) on its opening weekend in Japan, playing on 550 screens for a screen average of $15,639.

This compares with its $24.4m take on 2,908 screens for its US opening.

In other words, the Japanese gross is more than one-third the US total, on one-fifth the number of screens after just two days on release compared to the US's three days.

Director Edward Zwick and distributor Warners paid close attention to the Japanese market in both producing and publicising the film prior to its December 6 release.

Zwick cast popular Japanese actors in the lead roles, including Ken Watanabe as the rebel samurai general, while taking care to avoid the cultural and linguistic howlers that have harmed the Japanese box office prospects of previous Japan-themed Hollywood films.

Meanwhile, Warners mounted an intensive media blitz prior to release, which climaxed with the film's world premiere in Tokyo on November 20.