Confirming early predictions (Screendaily Jan 7) official data just released by the Motion Pictures Producers Association of Japan (Eiren), reveals that national cinema admissions reached 163.3m in 2001, generating all-time record box office revenues.

Boosted by the massive success of Spirited Away, the Japanese box office soared 17.% in 2001 compared with the previous year, to $1.51 billion (Y200,154 million), marking the first time ever that the Japanese box office has surpassed the Y200 billion mark. Further, admissions amounted to 163,280,000 million - a 20.6% gain -- and the highest total since 1986, while the number of cinema screens rose 61, to 2,585.

"The first six months of 2001 were tough, but a strong summer line-up, as well as the opening of new theatres with state-of-the-art facilities, contributed to the high figures," said Eiren chairman Isao Matsuoka:

The highest grossing movie was the Hayao Miyazaki animation Spirited Away, with an all-time-high of $233 million (Y2.9 billion), followed by A.I: Artificial Intelligence $73 million (Y9.7 billion), Pearl Harbor $52 million (Y6.88 billion), Jurassic Park III $38.6 million (Y5.13 billion), Dinosaur $36.9 million (Y4.9 billion) and Hannibal $34.6 million (Y4.6 billion).