The Suspect, the fourth in the series of films that startedwith the massive local hit Bayside Shakedown, had an impressive opening at the Japanese box office overthe weekend.
The Fuji TV film, aboutthe inner workings of the Tokyo police, finished its opening weekend (August 27to 28) with a gross of $5,859,026 (Y644,492,900) on 450,450 admissions. Thistotal is 16.2% higher than that recorded by the third series entry, TheNegotiator.
Opening on May 7, TheNegotiator finished its first runwith $38.2m --thehighest grossfora Japanese film in the firsthalf of 2005. The Suspect isexpected to bring in more $45.5m, giving Fuji TV the top two local grossers forthe year to date.
Meanwhile, the first twoentries, Bayside Shakedown and BaysideShakedown 2 both topped the annualbox office chart, with BS2, at $158m, setting an all-time record for alive-action Japanese film.
Played by Toshiro Yanagibain all four entries, the hero of The Suspect is an elite police bureaucrat with a brilliant careerahead of him -- until he is arrested for conspiring to use excessive forceagainst a suspect in a murder case. The plot revolves Yanagiba's search for thereal killer, with the help of his beat cops allies, as police bureaucraciesbattle and lawyers conspire.
"Salarymen (companyemployees) love this sort of character," commented a publicist for Toho,which is releasing the film nationwide. "His dilemma strikes a real chordwith them." The male-female audience split is accordingly 60-40, whereasis was closer to 50-50 for The Negotiator. Not surprisingly, Fuji TV is considering spinning out theseries further, though it has yet to announce its next entry.