Japanese box office earnings for the first half of 2008 totaled $743.54m (Y79.83bn), a 13.7% drop from the same period last year, according to figures reported by media trade publication Bunka Tsushin.
The total comprises grosses of the the top 13 foreign and local distributors in the territory, representing approximately 95% of the market as a whole.
The decrease was mainly due to a lack of tentpole pictures from Hollywood. Both Sony Pictures and Walt Disney had surpassed the Y10bn mark by the same point in 2007.
As expected, Toho showed the largest earnings by far at $227.19m (Y24.36bn), almost one third of the market. Current hits such as Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea (Studio Ghibli), Boys Over Flowers (TBS) and the latest Pokemon installment look to help push the territory's largest distributor over its stated Y60bn year-end goal for the first time.
Warner Bros' I Am Legend ($40.12m), the most successful import in the first half of the year, helped buoy its position. The studio is also active in distribution of local fare such as L: Change The World and The Sky Crawlers (August 2). Warner Brosalso has a new installment in the Harry Potter franchise set for release on November 21.
Toei's Partners: The Movie ($41.05m) took the crown for the first half of the year, but big-budget failure God's Puzzle kept the studio down at fifth place.
Other Hollywood releases Indiana Jones (in current release, $43.27m), The Dark Knight (Aug 9), Star Wars: Clone Wars (Aug 23), Pixar's Wall-E (Dec) and Harry Potter could give Hollywood product the majority market share by the end of the year.
Top 13 Distributors in Japan (January-June 2008)
1. Toho $227.19m (Y24.36bn)
2. Warner Brothers $99.14m (Y10.63bn)
3. Shochiku $74.71m (Y8.01bn)
4. Walt Disney $73.41m (7.87bn)
5. Toei $63.43m (Y6.80bn)
6. Gaga Communications $44.88m (Y4.81bn)
7. Paramount $39m (Y4.18bn)
8. Fox $37.78m (Y4.05bn)
9. Toho-Towa $28.18m (Y3.02bn)
10. Sony Pictures $20.34m (Y2.18bn)
11. Asmik Ace Entertainment $19.22m (Y2.06bn)
12. Kadokawa $12.32m (Y1.32bn)
13. Showgate $4.4m (Y470m)