Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life opened at number one in Japan's nine metro markets, taking an average of Y6,629,364 ($59,724) from 22 screens for a total of Y145,846,000 ($1,313,928).

This compares with Y212,263,300 ($1,912,282) on 22 screens for an average of Y9,648,332 ($86,922) for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, following its October 6, 2001 release.

This drop of 31% is not nearly as steep as the plunge in the series' US box office, from $131m for the first film to $65m for the second. Both star Angelina Jolie and director Jan de Bont came to Japan in early September to promote the film.

Also, Jolie's Lara Croft persona has made her a favorite among young Japanese males - a demographic distributor Toho Towa has assiduously cultivated by plastering Jolie's image, in form-fitting vinyl, on larger-than-life posters in every Tokyo entertainment district.