‘Suzume’ Opens as Shinkai’s Strongest Title Yet at Japan BO

Makoto Shinkai’s newest animated feature Suzume is opening the doors to another global hit, if the Japanese box office opening is any measure. Having opened on November 11, the mysterious and emotional fantasy adventure took in ¥1.88 billion (~$13.5 million USD) in its first three days, outdoing Shinkai’s previous stellar hits Your Name. (2016) and Weathering With You (2019). All three films were produced by animation studio CoMix Wave.

Moviegoers snapped up 1.33M admissions to Suzume, and the high fan demand prompted 11 cinemas in six major cities to open at midnight to accommodate first day crowds. Shinkai and the key voice cast members reportedly participated in onstage introductions to the film, which is released in Japan by Toho.

Your Name. opened at No. 1 with a three-day take of ¥1.27B  (~$12.51M), and went on to top the Japanese box office rankings for 12 consecutive weeks (nine straight weeks at No. 1), becoming the first animated feature not directed by Hayao Miyazaki to make over $100M in Japan and now ranking as the country’s third-highest-grossing domestic release of all time (No. 5 for all films) with ¥25.03B; ~$233.8M at the time (¥41.44B / $380.1M worldwide worldwide).

Weathering With You scootched up the opening weekend bar with ¥1.6B (the equivalent of ~$15.2M USD at the time), 28.6% more than the previous film. Launching at No. 1 and maintaining a top spot for close to a year, Weathering eventually totted up  ¥14.06B ($128M) in Japan, and currently ranks as the country’s 14th highest-grossing film of all time.

Suzume has launched with a 47% lead on Your Name. and 15% over Weathering With You, making it the most rapidly rising box office success for Shinkai yet. The anime release outpaced its premiere date competitor Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which opened at No. 2 with $3.5M, and Indian blockbuster RRR, which held onto No. 3 for a fourth consecutive week since its Japanese release.

Following the Japanese release, Suzume will be distributed in all major territories in 2023, including  North America (through Crunchyroll); Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East and select European territories (Crunchyroll & Sony Pictures Entertainment); and French- and German-speaking Europe (Crunchyroll, SPE & Wild Bunch International).

Directed and written by Shinkai, Suzume is an original story about the titular teenage girl (voiced by 18-year-old actress Nanoka Hara), whose quiet small town life is shaken up when she encounters a mysterious young man searching for strange doors in the area. After a talking cat turns the wanderer into a chair, Suzume must continue his quest to close these mystical portals before they unleash destruction on the world.

[Sources: Variety, Box Office Mojo, Anime News Network]

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