Japan Box Office: ‘Yo-Kai Watch’ Beats ‘Star Wars’ Ticket Sales

Mark Schilling

TOKYO — “Yo-Kai Watch the Movie 2: King Enma and the 5 Stories, Nyan!,” the second animated feature based on the popular Yo-Kai Watch role playing game, opened bigger than “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in Japan in admissions terms. “Yo-Kai” sold 975,000 tickets for the Dec. 19-20 weekend.

That made it number one in Japan where box office rank is usually expressed by admissions, not revenue. “Yo-Kai” which is distributed by Toho, opened in 358 theaters and grossed $8.71 million.

Given the higher ticket prices being charged for “Star Wars” at the 371 theaters it is playing, “Star Wars” secured the top spot for weekend earnings.

“Star Wars” bowed on Friday Dec. 18, ahead of the normal weekend Saturday opening, on 958 screens. That was a record for the Japanese market, sparking complaints from online commentators that Disney was “arrogant” and “pushing a series past its sell-by date.” In three days it earned $13.3 million from 1.04 million admissions. Its weekend (Saturday and Sunday) admissions at 800,000, lagged “Yo-Kai Watch,” but were worth $10.3 million.

Toho is predicting that “Yo-Kai” will pass the JPY5 billion ($41 million) mark and could go as high as JPY6 billion ($49 million).

The first “Yo-Kai Watch” movie, released in December last year, finished with $64 million.

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