Despite opening on more screens and trailing more Academy Award nominations, Seabiscuit failed to dislodge The Last Samurai from its number one slot on the Japanese nine-major-cities chart, which it has occupied for eight straight weeks.

Its $43,122 screen average was not only about half that of the Tom Cruise starrer, but less than that of the number three film, Half A Confession, in its third week on release.

Hollywood Homicide opened weakly at number nine with a $17,249 screen average on seventeen screens, while the Korean romantic drama The Classic (pictured) recorded a strong $36,399 average on four -- yet another indication of the continuing popularity of Korean films in the Japanese market.

The strongest opener, however, was The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, with $108,216 on one Tokyo screen. The film, in an "special extended version" that includes scenes cut from the original version, is being screened with a similarly lengthy The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring as part of Shochiku and Herald's run-up to the release of The Return Of The King on February 14 -- the film that will probably finally knock The Last Samurai off its perch.