"Pirates of the Caribbean: World's End" has become the first foreign pic to top the 10 billion yen ($82 million) mark at the Japanese B.O. this year, distrib Walt Disney Japan announced. But it is unlikely to be the last.
Released on May 25, the pic needed 53 days to reach the milestone -- and is on track to beat the total of the previous "Pirates" pic, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest,"which finished with $82.1 million last year. The cume is even more impressive given that "Dead Man's Chest" was released in July, at the peak of the summer BO season, while "World's End" bowed in May, when its school-age target aud was still at their studies. Industry forecasts however expect the cume to be exceded by "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which bows on 950 screens in Japan on Friday. "Phoenix" already notched $9.6 million in sneak preview screenings on the 14-16 July weekend, compared with $7.6 million for similar three-day sneaks for "Dead Man's Chest." Based on these numbers, distrib Warner Bros. Japan is now predicting that the fifth Potter pic will gross $122 million. The last series entry, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," hit the $110 million mark following its November 2005 release.