The Imaginary Anime Film Opens at #9 – News
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The Imaginary Anime Film Opens at #9 – News


Godzilla Minus One, Takashi Yamazaki‘s new film in TOHO‘s Godzilla franchise, stayed at #5 in its seventh weekend. The film earned 156,404,990 yen (about US$1.09 million) from Friday to Sunday. The film has sold a total of 2.87 million tickets for a cumulative total of 4,425,512,980 yen (about US$31.04 million).

Godzilla Minus One opened in Japan on November 3, 2023 (“Godzilla Day”), which was the anniversary of the first Godzilla film’s November 3, 1954 release. The new film screened at The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) as the closing film of this year’s event on November 1.

The film sold 648,600 tickets for 1,041,193,460 yen (about US$6.93 million) in its first three days in the Japanese box office. The film sold 14.7% more tickets and earned 22.8% more in its first three days than the last live-action Japanese Godzilla film, Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi‘s Shin Godzilla, did in its first three days in 2016.

Ryunosuke Kamiki plays protagonist Kōichi Shikishima, and Minami Hamabe plays heroine Noriko Ōishi. (The two also lead the cast of NHK‘s ongoing weekday morning series Ranman.) Other cast members include Yuki Yamada, Munetaka Aoki, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Sakura Andō, and Kuranosuke Sasaki.

The film opened in U.S. theaters on December 1, and earned US$11,419,975 in its first three days to rank #3 in the U.S. box office in its opening weekend. The film has the highest opening weekend for a foreign film in the United States this year, surpassing the US$10.1 million opening weekend earnings of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Swordsmith Village Arc in March. The film has become the highest-earning live-action Japanese film in North America.

Yamazaki is the director and writer, and is also credited for visual effects. Yamazaki has primarily directed live-action films, including the Always: Sunset on Third Street, Returner, and Parasyte films, but has also directed CG films such as Stand By Me Doraemon.

Image via Kitarō Tanjō: Gegege no Nazo anime film’s website

The Kitarō Tanjō: Gegege no Nazo (Kitarō Birth: The Mystery of Gegege) anime film dropped from #3 to #6 in its fifth weekend. The film earned 140,723,930 yen (about US$987,800) from Friday to Sunday, and has earned a cumulative total of 1,385,667,690 yen (about US$9.72 million).

The film opened in Japan on November 17 and sold 111,500 tickets and earned 160,106,620 yen (about US$1.07 million) in its first three days.

Gou Koga (Gegege no Kitarō: Nippon Bakuretsu!!, One Piece Episode of Sabo) directed the film at Toei Animation, and Hiroyuki Yoshino (Macross Frontier, World Trigger, 13 episodes in 2018 GeGeGe no Kitarō) wrote the screenplay. Touko Yatabe (2018 GeGeGe no Kitarō‘s third ending sequence unit director, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time assistant director) designed the characters. The main cast includes Toshihiko Seki as Kitarō’s father, who would eventually become Medama Oyaji, and Hidenobu Kikuchi as Mizuki, a salaryman who heads to a cursed village under secret orders.

The film is part of four “big projects” commemorating the 100-year anniversary of Shigeru Mizuki‘s birth. Mizuki passed away in 2015 at 93 years old. Another project is a new Akuma Kun anime that premiered on Netflix on November 9.


The live-action sequel film Tonde Saitama ~Biwako Yori Ai o Komete~ (Fly Me to Saitama: From Lake Biwa With Love) dropped from #4 to #7 in its fourth weekend. The film earned 133,546,050 yen (about US$937,900) from Friday to Sunday. The film has sold a total of 1.24 million tickets and earned a cumulative total 1,705,731,110 yen (about US$11.98 million)

The film opened on November 24 and ranked at #1. The film sold 292,300 tickets and earned 415,361,850 yen (about US$2.80 million) from Friday to Sunday in its opening weekend, and sold 444,500 tickets to earn 629,616,310 yen (about US$4.25 million) in its first four days, counting its Thursday opening day. (Thursday, November 23 was the Labor Thanksgiving Day holiday in Japan.)

The film was delayed from its original planned opening last year. The staff had put its production on hold following lead actor Gackt‘s announcement of an indefinite hiatus in September 2021. The hiatus was due to an early onset neurological disease that was progressing into a “life-threatening condition,” resulting in dysphonia (disorder of the voice). Gackt announced in May 2022 that he was steadily recovering physically, and the film resumed production in October 2022.

The sequel film centers on the second phase of the “Japan Saitamization Plan” of the Saitama Liberation Front led by Rei Asami (Gackt) and Momomi Dannoura (Nikaidō). Seeking greater freedom and peace, the group heads to the Kansai region in the west, where an incident between the east and west will spark a fierce battle.

The first Tonde Saitama (Fly Me to Saitama) film opened in Japan in February 2019. The movie sold 191,000 tickets for 259,038,800 yen (about US$2.33 million) on in its opening weekend to top the Japanese box office.

Image via Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window anime film’s website

Shinei Animation‘s anime film of Tetsuko Kuroyanagi‘s Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window (Madoigwa no Totto-chan) autobiographical memoir dropped from #6 to #8 in its second weekend. The film earned 100,322,010 yen (about US$704,200) from Friday to Sunday, and has earned a cumulative total of 340,133,210 yen (about US$2.38 million).

The film ranked at #6 in its opening weekend in Japan. The film earned 131,730,130 yen (about US$904,100) in its first three days. The film opened in Japan on December 8.

Kuroyanagi’s memoir tells her story of going to school at Tomoe Gakuen, after not fitting at her original elementary school. She meets unique students and learns new things at school, even as Japan descends into war. Kuroyanagi published the book in Japan in 1981, where it became a bestseller over the next year. It became required reading for Japanese elementary school students in the 1980s, and was also translated in English and many other languages worldwide.

Seven-year-old Liliana Ohno stars in the film as protagonist Totto-chan.

Shinnosuke Yakuwa (Eiga Doraemon: Shin Nobita no Daimakyō – Peko to 5-nin no Tankentai, Doraemon the Movie: Nobita and the Birth of Japan 2016, Doraemon the Movie: Nobita’s Chronicle of the Moon Exploration) directed the film at Shinei Animation. and he also penned the script alongside Yōsuke Suzuki (Pazudora). Shizue Kaneko (Monster Strike The Movie, Adachi and Shimamura, How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord) designed the characters.


Studio Ponoc‘s anime film of A.F. Harrold and Emily Gravett’s The Imaginary novel opened at #9. The film earned 68,169,730 yen (about US$478,300) in its first three days.

The film opened in Japan last Friday.

Studio Ponoc delayed the film last year from its original summer 2022 release date due to “new challenges” stemming from the film’s production methods and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yoshiyuki Momose (“Life Ain’t Gonna Lose” short in Ponoc’s Modest Heroes anime anthology, Ni no Kuni film, Ponoc’s Olympic Games shortTomorrow’s Leaves“) directed the film. Yoshiaki Nishimura — a producer on numerous Studio Ghibli films, as well as Ponoc films Mary and The Witch’s Flower and Modest Heroes — produced the film.

A Great Big World (“Say Something”) featuring Rachel Platten (“Fight Song”) performed the theme song “Nothing’s Impossible.”

Sources: Kōgyō Tsūshin (link 2) (link 3), Press release, comScore via KOFIC

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