Last weekend, “THE FIRST SLAM DUNK,” an animation film directed and scripted by the original author, Takehiko Inoue, debuted at No. 1 with 847,000 viewers and 1.296 billion yen in box-office revenue over the two days of Saturday and Sunday.
The film’s opening day was set for Saturday, and it opened 1.7 times higher than the 748 million yen earned by the second-place film, “Suzume no Tojimari” during the same period, a significant difference.
The film has continued to perform well after the start of the weekday and has the potential to spread to a wide age range, especially among fans of the original work when it was serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump” (1990-1996), given the extremely high reputation of the film.
If the film can generate another level of excitement between the end of the year and New Year’s, it may be able to aim for the 10 billion yen mark at the box office.
Still, it is the divine power of “Weekly Shonen Jump” that is to be feared.
Needless to say, it was “Blade of Demon’s Destruction: Infinity Train” released in 2020 that ushered in the “era of single-handed victory” at the movie box office after the Corona disaster.
After that, ” Jujutsu Kaisen Gekijoban 0″ released in 2021 and “ONE PIECE FILM RED” released this year took over the “single-winning era,” and it came to our attention that of the five films that have grossed over 10 billion yen at the box office since 2020, three of them, excluding “Shin Evangelion the Movie” (2021) and “Top Gun: Maverick” (2022), are the only ones to have grossed over 10 billion yen. (2022) are animated works based on comics that were or are currently serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”.
In addition, until now, hits exceeding 10 billion yen were almost exclusively distributed by Toho or Disney, but Toei made a breakthrough with “Shin Evangelion the Movie”, which was jointly distributed by Toho and Color.
One of the breakthroughs was the joint distribution of “Shin Evangelion the Movie” with Toho and Color. “ONE PIECE FILM RED” broke the record for the highest box-office revenue for a film distributed solely by Toei, and as of the end of September, it had already broken the annual box-office revenue record for the company as a whole. In addition to this, “THE FIRST SLAM DUNK” was a huge hit.
As you can see from the finish of the film, no matter how big a hit “THE FIRST SLAM DUNK” is, it does not necessarily mean that “SLAM DUNK” will become a series, but as for “ONE PIECE”, if a new film is released in a few years, the figures of this “ONE PIECE FILM RED” will be one of the standards for the new “ONE PIECE” series.
In addition, “Shin Kamen Rider” (solely distributed by Toei), a pivotal project of director Hideaki Anno, is scheduled to be released next March.
With Disney’s shift to Disney Plus for distribution, the long-standing Toho/Disney duopoly seems to have collapsed, and suddenly Toei, one of Japan’s proud and long-established majors, is strengthening its presence.
As symbolized by the closing of the landmark Shibuya TOEI on December 4 after 69 years of operation, Toei has been one or two steps behind Japan’s largest Toho in terms of affiliated theater chains.
However, with domestic animated films now completely dominating the movie box office, Toei may create a further whirlwind in the movie industry in the future.