Japan: Give Us More Family Movies


By Ben Kayser, Managing Editor

Being the third largest market in the world for movies, Japan’s influence over a Hollywood movie’s success is more powerful than some might think.

More than a decade ago, foreign movies in Japan grossed over $1.4 billion, but in 2012, foreign movies didn’t earn half of that. This summer, Hollywood strategically marketed movies like PACIFIC RIM and THE WOLVERINE that were either filmed in Japan, or contained elements that would appeal to a Japanese audience. Neither of those movies made the Top 25 in that country.

One movie that stands above the rest in Japan is Pixar’s MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, which is currently the second highest grossing movie in Japan and earned more than $90 million. Numbers indicate that Japanese audiences aren’t interested in loud, gritty destruction tentpole pics, but rather prefer movies with uplifting stories. This is a major that Movieguide® has been making for decades.

One U.S. studio marketing executive agreed with us.

He said, “Japanese don’t care as much as they used to about Hollywood films, even if they are ones shot in Japan.”

“What we’d like to see,” he continued, “are more family-oriented films. Too many films coming out of Hollywood are rather dark and depressing – there’s not a lot that families can take their kids to.”

THE LONE RANGER was one of the many summer movies that failed to attract Japan’s family audience, grossing only $20 million in Japan with it’s bloated budget of $250 million plus. As we wrote this summer, they alienated a large audience that would appreciate the movie. Read “How THE LONE RANGER Failed Children” Here.

Movieguide® is encouraged to see audiences in Japan seeking uplifting entertainment like MONSTERS UNIVERSITY and DESPICABLE ME 2. It’s a reminder to Hollywood that the good, the true, and the beautiful are more lucrative and beneficial than anything else. 

– Source:  Variety, 10/23/13.