From “One Piece Film Red” to “Mario”, the Increasing Revival Screenings and Their Changing Nature

revival Japanese anime

Were you aware that this October has seen a concentrated period with quite a number of revival screenings of popular anime films like “One Piece Film Red”, “Suzume no Tojimari”, and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”?

The term “revival screening” is used to give a strong image of special showings to watch old films and classic works on the big screen again. However, looking at the lineup above, it seems the nature of revival screenings has changed a bit recently.

From “Revival” to “Encore”, Increasing Re-screenings of New Films

Looking over the revival screenings held in October, they include:

The homecoming screening of “Suzume no Tojimari” from late September to early October, the 4D revival screening of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” in mid-October, the marathon screening of the 3 Digimon Adventure films and “One Piece Film Red” encore screening starting October 20th, and the encore revival screening of “Blue Giant” which began last weekend on the 27th.

While the Digimon Adventure films fit the conventional image of a revival screening, the other works are all films that were just released last year or this year – quite new.

In other words, rather than “reviving” old works, like the term “encore” already being used for some films, there has been an increase in encore screenings of films that ended their run only a few years ago, not decades ago.

Reasons for the Increase in Encore Screenings

There are two major factors behind the increase in these encore screenings of new anime films:

One is the heightened expectations for anime films from distributors due to recent excitement.

Given the historic hit films that saved the industry during COVID and the unprecedented number of $100 million box office anime films since “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train”, it makes sense that distributors and theaters would be more proactive about dedicating limited screens and timeslots for encore showings of hit anime films.

The other factor is the increased value of the theatrical experience for watching films.

Previously, new films were not quickly re-screened because right after the end of their run, home video and streaming releases would be available, so few would go out just to see a film in theaters when they could watch it anytime, anywhere.

However, as seen in “One Piece Film Red” topping the box office in its encore run last weekend with $16 million after home video and streaming release, there are now clearly many people who will go to theaters to watch films they can already see anytime, anywhere at home.

Factors like the rediscovered value of the theatrical experience amidst the convenience of streaming, and changes in viewer habits like repeat viewings, also play a role here. October especially stood out for its number of revival screenings, but in general anime theatrical culture is shifting, like films extending runs instead of fading out to create one last box office boost.

While the box office and the films themselves grab attention, looking at distribution and theatrical changes around them reveals the mechanisms behind anime films’ unprecedented popularity today.

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