As predicted, Japanese films had their most successful year ever at the local box office in 2006, grossing $884.48m (Y107.75bn) for a 53.2% market share, according to the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren).

The strong results mark an increase of 31.8% over 2005 when the local industry had a 41.3% share. It also marks the first time since 1985 that local product has gained a majority share and arrives after year-on-year increases since 2002's all-time low of 27.1%. A total of 417 Japanese films were released in 2006 marking the highest number of local releases since 1971.

Overall box office reached $1.66bn (Y202.55bn), a 2.2% increase over 2005, ranking as the third best year ever. Total admissions were 164.3 million, compared to 160.5 million in 2005, with the average ticket price at Y1,233 ($10.13) remaining relatively unchanged since 1993.

Japan's largest distributor, Toho, accounted for more than half of the domestic take at $481.9m (Y58.7bn), marking the most successful year in the company's history. Toho distributed nine of the top ten local films, including the top-ranking local film Tales From Earthsea, which grossed $62.9m (Y7.65bn) and ranked fourth overall.

Fuji TV produced the top two live-action local films with Umizaru 2 ($58.4m) and Suite Dreams ($50m), both released through Toho.

BVI was the most successful Hollywood major in the territory, earning over $210m, easily beating its previous record of $177.8m set in 2004. Success was mainly due to the biggest hit released in 2006, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which amassed $82.3m, and Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe which came in sixth overall with $56.4m.

US releases accounted for 165 titles, up from 152 in 2005. Korean films again represented the second biggest source of imports with 54 titles, down from 61 releases in 2005. Last year saw no Korean films earning more than Y2bn ($16.43m), while in the previous year there were three. Many analysts are declaring the hanryu boom over.

The national screen count increased to 3,062, the highest amount since 1970.

Japan Top Ten 2006

1. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire* (WB) $90.49m (Y11bn)

2. Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 (BVI) $82.34m (Y10.01bn)

3. The Da Vinci Code (SPE) $74.45m (Y9.05bn)

4. Tales From Earthsea (Toho) $62.93m (Y7.65bn)

5. Umizaru 2 - Test Of Trust (Toho) $58.4m (Y7.1bn)

6. Chronicles Of Narnia: Lion, Witch And Wardrobe (BVI) $56.43m (Y6.86bn)

7. Suite Dreams (Toho) $50.02m (Y6.08bn)

8. Sinking Of Japan (Toho) $43.93m (Y5.34bn)

9. Death Note: The Last Name (WB) $42.78m (Y5.2bn)

10. Mission : Impossible III (UIP) $42.37m (Y5.15bn)

Japan Top Ten Local Films 2006

1. Tales From Earthsea (Toho) $62.93m (Y7.65bn)

2. Umizaru 2 - Test Of Trust (Toho) $58.4m (Y7.1bn)

3. Suite Dreams (Toho) $50.02m (Y6.08bn)

4. Sinking Of Japan (Toho) $43.93m (Y5.34bn)

5. Death Note: The Last Name (WB) $42.78m (Y5.2bn)

6. Yamato* (Toei) $41.87m (Y5.09bn)

7. Love And Honour** (Shochiku) $29.2 (Y3.55bn)

8. Pocket Monster (Toho) $27.97m (Y3.4bn)

9. Doraemon (Toho) $26.98m (Y3.28bn)

10. Nada Soso (Toho) $25.17m (Y3.06bn)

Japan Top Ten Foreign Films 2006

1. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire* (WB) $90.49m (Y11bn)

2. Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 (BVI) $82.34m (Y10.01bn)

3. The Da Vinci Code (SPE) $74.45m (Y9.05bn)

4. Chronicles Of Narnia: Lion, Witch And Wardrobe (BVI) $56.43m (Y6.86bn)

5. Mission : Impossible III (UIP) $42.37m (Y5.15bn)

6. Mr. And Mrs. Smith (Toho/Towa) $38.25m (Y4.65bn)

7. Letters From Iwo Jima ** (WB) $37.6m (Y4.57bn)

8. Flight Plan (BVI) $25.67m (Y3.12bn)

9. Chicken Little (BVI) $22.04m (Y2.68bn)

10. World Trade Center (UIP) $19.74m (Y2.4bn)

* Late 2005 release

** Still on current release

Source: Eiren [$1=Y121.562]