Smaller town theaters struggle to survive in Japan

posted by CSWalczak on October 6, 2009 at 10:45 am

In the U.S., the story is all too familiar: a small town theater closes in the face of competition from a multiplex within driving distance away. A similar phenomenon is occurring in Japan, which led to the convening of a recent confab, where ways to preserve community theaters was the central issue. Attendees are concerned that many young Japanese will now grow up never having seen a film in a movie theater.

According to the 2008 yearbook of movie screenings published by the Japan Community Cinema Center, there were 3,176 screens—excluding adult movie theaters—in 2007, an increase of 350 over the previous survey taken in 2005.

However, 80 percent of these screens were at multiplexes, and the number of movie theaters had actually fallen by 122 to 667.

In 1993, when the nation’s first multiplex opened in Kanagawa Prefecture, there were 1,734 movie theaters.

Read the whole story in Asia One.

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