Negotiator,theKatsuyuki Motohiro thriller spun offfrom his megahit BaysideShakedown films, passed the 2 millionadmissions mark on June 1, the 26th day after its May 7 release.

With a gross of $25.6m (Y2.7bn), Negotiator has become the top-earning Japanese film of theyear.

Produced by Fuji TV,thefilmstars comedianYusuke Santa Maria as criminal negotiator Masayoshi Mashita - a minor characterin Bayside Shakedown (1998) and BaysideShakedown 2 (2003) - who steps into thespotlight when a twisted movie geek begins terrorising the Tokyo subway system.

Negotiator has heldthe top box office spot for four straight weeks, despite the train derailmentin Amagasaki in Western Japan on April 25 that claimed 106 lives - whichsuddenly made the film uncomfortably timely for Japanese moviegoers.

How far can Negotiatorgo' Bayside Shakedown 2, whichset a box office record for a live-action Japanese film with $162m, attracted90,000 members to its Web site members club. Negotiator's has already recorded 126,000.

Meanwhile, Fuji TV and distributor Toho are preparing torelease yet another Bayside Shakedownspin-off, Suspect, on August 27.This time the title characteris Shinji Muroi (Toshiro Yanagiba), theelite police bureaucrat who was the detective hero's nemesis -- andsecret ally -- in the first two instalments.