From: Neil Harrison, Sean Steele, Tracy Powell, Stuart Grant, Sarah McDonnell
Subject: Summary of Japan Tracking: 15th December – 21st December 2008
Date: 22nd December 2008
Japan - Market Overview
PLEASE SEE ACCOMPANYING DATA TABLES FOR FULL BREAKDOWN OF TITLES
PLEASE NOTE THAT “DEFINITE” INTEREST IS BASED ON THOSE AWARE, SO BASE SIZES CAN BE SMALL
OPENING THIS WEEK (27 December 2008):
we own the night
The Day The Earth Stood Still (Fox) opened at number one at the Japanese box office on the weekend, while holdover Wall-E (Disney) continued to remain competitive fending off new releases K-20 Kaijin Nijumenso Den (Toho), Body Of Lies (WB) and Akai Ito (Shochiku), which opened at third, fourth and fifth respectively.
This week, Fox’s thriller Mirrors and Disney’s animated Tinkerbell are both tracking at similar normative levels, but both appeal to different demographic audiences, and neither are likely to challenge the top of the box office. To note, Tinkerbell opens early on the 23rd December.
Both titles have a comparable 6% unaided mentions (norm is 5%), but Tinkerbell has a higher level of overall awareness (38% vs. 27% aware of Mirrors, norm is 25%).
Among those aware, 8% are “definitely” interested in seeing Tinkerbell, similar to Mirrors’ 9% (norms is 10%).
Overall, 3% pick Tinkerbell as their first choice among the films opening or in release, similar to 4% choosing Mirrors.
However, Tinkerbell’s key measures skew strongly female, especially towards younger females, while Mirrors’ key measures are led by older males.
Also opening on this date, just 4% are aware of We Own The Night (Movie Eye).
Japan MARKET OVERVIEW
OTHER PRE-RELEASE TITLES:
At this stage, just two of the six titles releasing in two weeks reach normative awareness levels; Gaga’s The Meerkats (2% unaided and 19% total) and Gaga’s Che: Part One (2% unaided and 18% total), with the latter title garnering the higher interest levels (11% “definite” interest and 2% first choice vs. 7% and 1%, respectively for The Meerkats).
Steven Soderbergh and Benicio Del Toro attended the Japanese premiere of Che last week
A preview screening of The Meerkats was held at Ueno Zoo on the weekend, and a meerkat character (pictured above) has been touring Japanese kindergartens to promote the film.
Three weeks out, Toho’s local drama Pandemic continues to lead the week with tracking measures well above norm, but it has seen minimal gains since last week. The title continues to face little competition on this date, with none of the other releases reaching normative levels of awareness at this stage.
The following week, Quantum Of Solace (Sony) has seen slight gains, in particular it is more top-of-mind this week (at 5%, was 2%). James Bond’s latest outing continues to lead the week with 5% first choice (was 3% last week), while the other two titles are yet to register a full 1% first choice.
Five weeks out, Toho’s Twentieth Century Boys 2 continues to dominate the week and has enjoyed a rise in first choice (from 9% to 11%), driven by increases among younger males (from 13% to 18%) and older males (from 6% to 12%). To note, Twentieth Century Boys: Chapter 1 took US$5.8m on its opening weekend in August of this year.
Debuting on tracking with an early six month pre-release read, 38% are aware of Sony’s Terminator Salvation (skewing male), and 4% of younger males already name it top-of-mind. Among those aware, 20% are “definitely” interested in seeing it, rising to a strong 33% among younger males.
Quantum Of Solace
Four weeks out, Quantum Of Solace has seen some gains this week, in particular the title is more top-of-mind among Japanese moviegoers.
Unaided mentions increased from 2% to 5%, standing at a level of 5%-6% among all of the quads except younger females (2%).
Total awareness rose incrementally from 33% to 35%, with the biggest rise seen among older females (from 29% to 34%), bringing them closer to males (37%).
“Definite” interest is stable at 15% (was 14% last week), while first choice rose slightly from 3% to 5% this week.
Both “definite” interest and first choice are led by younger males (23%/6%) and older males (17%/8%), followed by older females (14%/3%), with younger females continuing to lag (5%/1%).
Casino Royale did not see an uplift to its key measures at this same stage, and so levels were slightly lower than Quantum Of Solace in comparison (1% unaided, 33% total, 10% “definite” interest and 3% first choice).
Twentieth Century Boys 2 continues to look strong the week after Quantum Of Solace, with its first choice level increasing from 13% to 18% among younger males and from 6% to 12% among older males. Therefore, it may provide some competition in Bond’s second week. To note, Twentieth Century Boys: Chapter 1 took US$5.8m on its opening weekend in August of this year.
Meanwhile Pandemic (opens one week earlier) is tracking at a similar level as last week, but is still looking likely to provide some holdover competition (with 3% first choice, highest at 6% among 18-24 year olds).
Returning to tracking at eight weeks pre-release, 4% are aware of Seven Pounds, doubling to 8% among older females.
The Will Smith starrer has 1% first choice, rising to 2% among younger females.
Fellow release Changeling has a comparable level of overall awareness (at 4%, skewing to the older quads), and is registering some first choice among older females (1%).
In comparison, 2% were aware of The Pursuit Of Happyness at this same stage.
Debuting on tracking at six months out, 38% are aware of Terminator Salvation (skewing male), and 4% of younger males are already naming it spontaneously (as well as 1% of the older quads).
Among those aware, “definite” interest is at a very good level (20%), especially among younger males (33%), and it is the younger males who most strongly over-index as Likely Attendees at this early stage.
In comparison, Spider-Man 3 had a slightly higher level of awareness (2% unaided and 46% total) and higher “definite” interest (25%), while awareness of both Indiana Jones 4 and Angels and Demons was lower (27%-28%), but with a comparable level of “definite” interest (20%).
APPENDIX NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE TITLE INFORMATION Non-English language title information
252 SEIZONSYA ARI
A few weeks after a gigantic earthquake struck Tokyo is slowly beginning to function again. But the temperature of the Pacific Ocean suddenly increases after the earthquake, causing a tremendous typhoon which towards Tokyo with devastating force. The Tokyo Fire Department dispatches its elite rescue unit, Hyper Rescue, and their sonar picks up a signal from underwater. Beneath the ground, in one devastated subway station, there is someone sending out a code which is known to rescuers only… “252… 252…” – “We have survivors!” Somebody who knows the rescue protocol is trapped underground! The rescuers, the survivors and their families all pray for their loved ones' safe return. In the extreme situation, a rescue party tries to save the survivors at the risk of their own lives.
"Akai Ito," one of the best-selling books of last year and has been adapted into a drama series (Fuji TV) and film (Shochiku). Like "Koizora," it started out as a mobile phone novel and quickly gained in popularity, pushing it into the top 20 of Tohan's 2007 rankings. So far, the 5 volumes of the story have sold 1.8 million copies. The story revolves around two middle schoolers, Mei and Atsushi, who together face various obstacles, such as drugs, rape, and suicide.
Asahiyama Zoo Story
The true story of Asahiyama Zoo’s sharp decline in popularity in the early 90s and its resurgence due to the leadership of its chief manager Masao Kosuge (Toshiyuki Nishida) and the innovations proposed by zookeeper Gen Bando (Yasuhi Nakamura). One of the highlights of these changes, and the reason for the film’s subtitle, is a clear underwater tunnel where visitors can observe penguins swimming overhead as if they were flying.
BLEACH: THE MOVIE 2008(Bleach: Fade to Black)
The third film in the Bleach anime series. According to the official website, the plot involves Soul Society members being struck with amnesia causing them to be hostile towards main characters Ichigo and Rukia.
Dare mo Mamotte Kurenai (Nobody to Watch Over Me)
When the older brother of Saori (Mirai Shida) is arrested for murder, police protect her family by changing their name and take them out of contact with the rest of society for a while. Saori is then sent to live with Detective Katsuura (Koichi Sato) for futher protection from the media onslaught. Katsuura is in a tricky situation trying to deal with Saori’s fragile mental state while carefully trying to get her testimony about what happened. Meanwhile, his own family is coming apart at the seams.
Detective Conan 2009
Next installment in the popular series.
Based on the true story Katsuyoshi Ukon, a 67 year old pioneeer of handyman services for the elderly in Tokyo, . Katsuyoshi Ukon was a yakuza member in his teens, then a world traveler in his early twenties and finally started his handyman business at the age of 26. His business has now been operating for over 40 years, providing a variety of services (cleaning ditches, having tea with someone, or accompanying a person a trip) and makes at least a million yen a month (USD $10,000).
Animated version of the popular manga series, created in 1959 by manga artist Shigeru Mizuki. It is best known for its popularization of the folklore creatures known as yōkai, a class of spirit-monster to which all of the main characters belong.
Handsome Suit revolves around a magical suit that makes its wearer more attractive.
A comedy set in the airline industry. The story centers on a flight from Japan to Honolulu and deals with a variety of characters, such as a scatterbrained cabin attendant, a scary instructor, and a young mechanic.
K-20 Kaijin Nijumenso Den (K-20 LEGEND OF THE MASK)
The story is set in 1949 in the fictional capital city of Teito, where aristocrats monopolize most of the wealth. K-20, a mysterious man with the ability to change his appearance frequently targets the rich for his theft. One day he manages to trick police into thinking a circus acrobat named Heikichi Endo (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is the real criminal, leaving it up to Endo to escape jail and prove his innocence.
Kanna-san, Daiseikou Desu! (Kanna’s Big success!)
Based on the same Japanese comic as 200 Pounds Beauty. While 200 Pounds Beauty was a romantic comedy, this version will focus more on Kanna's relationship with her friend Kabako.
MAJOR THE MOVIE
Follows the story of Goro, the son of a major league baseball player, who dreams of hitting the big time himself.
Satoshi Tsumabuki plays an ER doctor named Tsuyoshi Matsuoka who receives a patient with a virus unlike anything he’s seen before. His symptoms include high fever, convulsions, vomiting of blood, and multiple organ failure. Could this be a new form of influenza or is it some other variety of virus? As the situation worsens and more cases begin arriving a medical officer from the World Health Organization named Eiko Kobayashi is dispatched to the area. At the rate the virus is spreading the entire city’s transportation system and infrastructure would be brought to a halt within 3 months. Within 6 months it could spread to tens of millions of people—reaching a death toll far worse than any war. Can mankind put an end to this deadly pandemic?
Set in 1979, Haruka Ayase stars as a 23-year-old teacher named Mikako who was recently transferred to a junior high school school in Kitakyushu. Enthusiastic about her new job, she immediately volunteers to coach the boys volleyball club. Unfortunately, she finds the team only has 5 members—all of them geeks who spend most of their time obsessing over girls and no time practicing. In an effort to motivate the team, she gets coaxed into promising to flash them her “oppai” (breasts) if they win the big tournament. The promise works like a charm; the kids immediately become fiercely determined to become better volleyball players. Minako is obviously nervous about the implications of her promise, but is also pleased with the complete change in attitude and she even gains back the confidence she had once lost. Unfortunately, the school finds out about it right before the first game, possibly jeopardizing her job.
Comedy (although not a local title) - An American woman (Brittany Murphy) is stranded in Tokyo after breaking up with her boyfriend. Searching for direction in life, she trains to be a râmen chef under a tyrannical Japanese master.
It's A.D. 208 China. Rival states Shu and Wu join hands against their common enemy, the evil and ambitious General Cao Cao of the Wei kingdom, but are seriously outnumbered by his million-strong army. But with the charismatic leadership of Gen. Zhou Yu the perfect strategy of scholar Zhuge Liang and the support of Emperor Sun Quan they manage to declare a small victory. While Cao Cao scoffs at this as no big deal, it adds fuel to his fury.
Kazuhiro Uchida is transferred to a rescue centre located in a small town while training to become a fighter pilot. Initially, Kazuhiro thinks negatively about his new occupation, due to the difficult missions and the harsh discipline he receives from his seniors. However, over the course of his training, he begins to accept the job for what it is and becomes a true member of the rescue force.
Shonen Meriken Sakku
A record company office worker named Kanna discovers an aging punk rock band called Shonen Meriken Sakku (Brass Knuckle Boys) and subsequently decides to represent them on behalf of her company.
A new type of super hero is here! Tadano Hitoshi is an assistant manager of an advertisement company who seems to be nothing but a dull and incapable “nobody”. While most of the employees wonder why such a passive and incompetent person like Hitoshi is yet to be laid off, there is just one person who heavily relies on him as a “savior” to the company, the CEO. In fact, the “Mr. Nobody” is simply a disguise from the real Hitoshi, as he is under various special missions of the CEO to quietly carry on his “extraordinary ” task to fight against the corruption of the company. Originally from a big hit comic book and adapted into a television drama airing on TV Asahi 2003.
TAMAGOcCHI the movie 2008
The Tamagotchi is a handheld digital pet created in 1996 and this is the sequel to the first animated film (December 2007).
Live action film based on the ‘Tomica Hero Rescue Forc’e television series that began airing April 5, 2008 on TV Aichi. It is based on Tomy's Tomica toy car line. The characters use Tomica's Super Tools and Super Vehicles to help save people from extreme disasters rather than battle the evil causing them.
TWENTIETH CENTURY BOYS 2
Sequel to Twentieth Century Boys, which is a live action movie based on a popular manga mystery series. Kenji and his friends start to notice a series of odd occurrences related to their childhood. A mysterious cult-leader named "friend" is out to destroy the world, and it has something to do with Kenji's childhood memories.
Watashi wa kani ni naritai (i want to be a shellfish)
Remake. On a post-war peaceful day in Japan, Toyomatsu Shimizu, a barber as well as a good father and husband, is falsely arrested by the Prefectural Police as a war criminal and sued for murder. Toyomatsu pleads not guilty, but he is sentenced to death by hanging. Prior to the execution, Toyomatsu writes a long farewell letter to his family, the wife and the only son: "If I ever incarnate, I hate to be a human being any more.... Oh yes, I would like to be...a shellfish living on the rock-bottom of the sea."
'Time Lost Time Found' (also titled 'Yomei' in Japanese) is a Japanese film about a woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer and decides to forgo treatment for the sake of her unborn baby. The character facing the ultimate choice is played by acclaimed actress Yasuko Matsuyuki (The Devotion of Suspect X).
Film about the life of Dogen, who introduce the “Zen” sect of Buddhism to Japan.