Another popular manga-anime franchise is rocketing to the top of Japan’s box-office charts in the new year, as supernatural high school fantasy Gekijō-ban Jujutsu Kaisen 0 posts 6.7 billion yen (~US$58 million) in its first 15 days, with 4.9 million tickets sold. The prequel pic for the hit Jujutsu Kaisen TV series, which wrapped in March, is outpacing last year’s top grosser Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time, which hit 6B yen ($52M) in 21 days and closed 2021 with 10.22B yen ($88M).
Distributed by TOHO and animated by MAPPA, the film premiered at No. 1 on December 24. Demand for the first waves of tickets was so high that theaters added additional screens, with one Shinjuku cinema running eight midnight showings. The first three days brought in a chart topping 2.7B yen and 1.9M tickets sold as fans bundled into theaters and IMAX locations to catch the new adventure and score a limited edition booklet.
The result was the second-best opening in Japanese box-office history, displacing Disney’s Frozen II and coming in behind 2020’s smash hit Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train at No. 1. Now, TOHO is predicting a smooth run to 10B yen (US$87M) for its new hex-busting prequel.
To celebrate the film’s success, TOHO launched a new promo video, and the official website announced that pop-up Gekijō-ban Jujutsu Kaisen 0 theme cafes will open from Jan. 14 to March 27 in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya.
Directed by Sunghoo Park (The God of High School), Gekijō-ban Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is based on the prequel manga story Jujutsu Kaisen 0: Tokyo Prefectural Jujutsu High School by Gege Akutami, about a nervous high school student named Yuta whose childhood friend, Rika, is transformed into a Curse that won’t leave him alone. His plight is noticed by magical teacher Satoru Gojo, who invites Yuta to enroll in the classes for young exorcists at Jujutsu High.
The Jujutsu Kaisen manga launched in Weekly Shonen Jump in 2018, and has sold 50 million copies. The 24-episode TV anime premiered in 2020, and was named Anime of the Year by the 2021 Crunchyroll Anime Awards.
According to Japanese film news outlet Eiga.com, the top three highest grossing domestic films in Japan last year were animated — Evangelion: 3.0+1.0, Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet (¥7.65B/$66.6M) and Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle (¥6.53B/$56.9M), followed by the live-action manga adaptations Tokyo Revengers at No. 4 and Rurouni Kenshin: The Final at No. 5. My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission rounded out the top 10 with 3.37B yen ($29.3M).
[Source: Mantan Web via Anime News Network]