Paprika Debuts in L.A.

Paprika, one of the best-reviewed films in release, arrives in select theaters in Los Angeles this weekend courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. The latest anime thriller from Japanese master Satoshi Kon (Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress, Perfect Blue) opened in a couple of theaters in New York last weekend and, based on its performance, may roll out in other select cities before finding its broadest North American Audience on DVD.

The film tells the story of Dr. Atsuko Chiba, an attractive, young Japanese research psychotherapist who uses a breakthrough device to enter patients’ dreams and synchronize with their unconscious to help uncover the source of their anxiety or neurosis. When one of the only four existing prototypes of the machine is stolen, Atsuko must find out who has taken it and prevent the thief from using it to destroy peoples’ minds.

Paprika is based on the novel by respected science-fiction author Yasutaka Tsutsui. The work was first serialized in the Japanese version of the woman’s magazine Marie Claire in 1991 and has attracted the attention of a number of filmmakers over the years. After seeing Millennium Actress, Tsutsui decided that Kon was up to the task and contacted him, not knowing that the director was already eyeing the project.

Produced by Sony Pictures Ent. Japan and animation studio Madhouse, Paprika is playing at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in Los Angeles, the Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and the Edwards University Towncenter 6 in Irvine. More information on the movie can be found at www.paprikamovie.com. Also watch for clips from the film coming to AniMagTV. www.animationmagazine.net/tv

Also opening in limited release today is Day Watch, the sequel to Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov’s hit 2004 vampire actioner Night Watch. The first film was made for $4.32 million and made $33.8 million worldwide, becoming Russia’s highest-grossing film ever. The visual effects-driven Day Watch is the second installment in a planned quartet of films based on the novel series by author Sergei Lukyanenko. The third film, Dusk Watch, is now in production and will be shot in the U.S. with Fox Searchlight Pictures putting up financing and handling U.S. distribution rights for the whole series.