Bayside Shakedown 2, Katsuyuki Motohiro's comic thriller about feuding cops in Tokyo's trendy bayside district, topped the Japanese box office in 2003, according to figures from the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren).

BS2 grossed $163.7m (Y17.35bn) following its July 2003 release -- a record for a Japanese live-action film.

The top-earning foreign film on the Eiren chart was Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, with $160.4m. Warner opened the film in November 2002, but Eiren lists Christmas holiday films in the chart for the year following their release.

The second biggest foreign release was Matrix Reloaded, which finished with $103.8m, followed by Terminator 3 ($77.4m), Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers ($74.5m) and Pirates Of The Caribbean ($64.2m).

The highest grossing non-Hollywood foreign film was Zhang Yi Mou's Hero, which earned $38.2m following its August release, a record for a Chinese film in the Japanese market.

Warner, with four films in the box office top ten (Harry Potter, Matrix Reloaded, Minority Report and Hero) was the top-earning foreign distributor. Other distributors with top ten films in 2003 were Toho (BS2 and Pocket Monsters), Toho Towa (Terminator 3), Buena Vista (Pirates Of The Caribbean), Fox (Minority Report), Sony (Charlie's Angels) and Gaga (Chicago). UIP had a disappointing year, with its top earner, Catch Me If You Can, taking $27.4m, good enough for only 14th pace on the Eiren box office list for foreign films.

On the local side, the top five was rounded off by Pocket Monsters: Advanced Generation ($42.4m), Detective Conan: Crossroads Of The Labyrinth ($30.2m), Resurrection ($30.0m) and Zatoichi ($26.9m).

Toho was once again the leading local distributor, accounting for six of the top ten films, headed by Bayside Shakedown 2. Toei followed with three and Shochiku with one.

The total gross for 2003 was $1.917bn on 162,347,000 admissions, a 3.3% gain over the previous year. Of this total Japanese films accounted for $633.3m or 33.0%, foreign films, $1.284bn or 67.0%. This compares with a 27.1% share for local films in 2002.

Releases declined slightly, from 640 in 2002 to 622 in 2003, with Japanese films falling from 293 to 287 and foreign films, from 347 to 335. A total of 46 films grossed $9.4m or more, with foreign films accounting for 29 and Japanese films for 17.

Meanwhile, the number of screens rose from 2,635 to 2,681, for a 1.9% gain, an indication that the multiplex building boom of the nineties is winding down. The average ticket price fell 0.2% to $11.81.

Japanese box office top ten 2003
Title/release date/gross (exchange rate: $1=Y106/distributor

1. Bayside Shakedown 2/July/ Y17.35 billion ($163.7 million)/Toho
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets/November, 2002/ Y17.0 billion ($160.4 million)/Warner
3. Matrix Reloaded/June/Y11.0 billion ($103.8 million)/Warner
4. Terminator 3/July/Y8.2 billion ($77.4 million)/Toho Towa
5. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers/February/Y7.9 billion ($74.5 million)/Herald/Shochiku
6. Pirates of the Caribbean/August/Y6.8 billion ($64.2 million)/Buena Vista
7. Minority Report/December, 2002/Y5.24 billion ($49.4 million)/Fox
8. Pocket Monsters: Advanced Generation/July/Y4.5 billion ($42.4 million)/Toho
9. Hero/August/Y4.05 billion ($38.2 million)/Warner
10. Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle/June/Y3.5 billion ($33.0 million)/Sony
10. Chicago/April/Y3.5 billion ($33.0 million)/Gaga/Humax

Local top ten 2003
Title/release date/gross (exchange rate: $1=Y106/distributor

1. Bayside Shakedown 2/July/ Y17.35 billion ($163.7 million)/Toho
2. Pocket Monsters: Advanced Generation/July/Y4.5 billion ($42.4 million)/Toho
3. Detective Conan: Crossroads in the Labyrinth/April/Y3.2 billion ($30.2 million)/Toho
4. Resurrection/January/Y3.07 billion ($30.0 million)/Toho
5. Zatoichi/September/Y2.85 billion ($26.9 million)/Shochiku
6. Doraemon: Nobita and the Strange Messenger of the Wind/March/Y2.54 billion ($24.0 million)/Toho
7. One Piece The Movie/March/Y2.0 billion ($18.9 million)/Toei
8. Godzilla vs. Mechgodzilla/December 2002/Y1.91 billion ($18.0 million)/Toho
9. Battle Royale 2/July/Y1.85 billion ($17.5 million)/Toei
10. The Golden Laws/October/Y1.7 billion ($16.0 million)/Toei