Howl's Moving Castle, the new animation by Hayao Miyazaki, earned $14.2m(Y1.48bn) on 1.1 million admissions in its first two days on release - a newrecord for a Japanese film.
The previous record holderwas Bayside Shakedown 2, which was released in 2003. The figures alsorepresented a 40% gain over Spirited Away, Miyazaki's previous film,which went on to gross $292 million - an all-time record for a film released inJapan, foreign or Japanese.
The film's distributor,Toho, is now projecting a possible $480m gross on 40 million admissions - whichwould mean that nearly one-third of Japan's entire population is expected tosee the film.
Howl's Moving Castle opened on November 20 on 450 screens, surpassing theprevious record of 408 for a Japanese film set by Bayside Shakedown 2.
This number - nearly one ofevery five screens in the country - compares with 348 for Miyazaki's PrincessMononoke in 1997 and 336 for Spirited Away in 2001.