Godzilla Minus One, Takashi Yamazaki‘s new film in TOHO‘s Godzilla franchise, ranked at #1 in its opening weekend. 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 has 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.
Godzilla Minus One opened in Japan last Friday, 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 last Wednesday
The film will open in U.S. theaters on December 1.
TIFF’s website describes the film’s story:
The worst despair in the 70-year-old series’ history strikes Japan!
After the war, Japan has been reduced to zero. Godzilla appears and plunges the country into a negative state. Against the most desperate situation in the history of Japan, how — and with whom —will Japan stand up to it?
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.
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.
Eiga Sumikko Gurashi: Tsugihagi Kōjo no Fushigi na Ko (The Mysterious Child of the Makeshift Factory), the third anime film for San-X‘s Sumikko Gurashi franchise, ranked at #2 in its opening weekend in Japan. The film sold 192,300 tickets for 242,553,320 yen (about US$1.61 million) in its first three days in the Japanese box office. The film opened in Japan last Friday.
Hazumu Sakuta (Neko no Dayan, Uchū Nanchara Kotetsu-kun) directed the third film at Fanworks. Takashi Sumita (Europe Kikaku) returned from the first film to pen the third film’s script. Yoshihiko Inohara and Manami Honjō returned from the first and second film to narrate the third film.
In the third film’s story, the characters find an old building deep in the forest. The building turns out to be a toy factory. They all begin to make toys in the factory, with Shirokuma using his skill to operate the sewing machines, and Penguin? inspecting toys with a magnifying glass. But the factory itself hides something more special.
Sumikko Gurashi debuted in 2012 as slightly negative characters who like to stay in the corner of a room. The characters include “Shirokuma,” a polar bear who is sensitive to cold; “Penguin?” (with a question mark in its name), a penguin who is unsure if it is actually a penguin; “Tonkatsu,” a piece of pork cutlet that was left uneaten; “Neko,” a shy cat; and “Tokage,” who hides his nature as one of the last dinosaurs.
The first anime film, titled Sumikkogurashi – Good to be in the corner, opened in Japan in November 2019. The film eventually sold a total of 1.22 million tickets, and it earned 1.4 billion yen (about US$12.8 million) at the box office in Japan as of February 2020. The film won the award for Best Animation of the Year at the 29th Annual Japan Movie Critics Awards in June 2020.
Eiga Sumikko Gurashi: Aoi Tsukiyo no Mahō no Ko (The Magical Child of the Blue Moonlit Night), the second film, opened in Japan in November 2021, and sold about 200,000 tickets to earn about 250 million yen (about US$2.22 million) in its first three days.
The franchise had its first-ever television anime that premiered its first episode on October 6, and then premiered all five episodes on November 5.
One Piece Film Red‘s one-month encore screening dropped from #2 to #3 in its third weekend. The encore screening earned 147,496,360 yen (about US$982,500) from Friday to Sunday. Adding to its original screening from August 6, 2022 to January 29, the film has sold a total of 14.63 million tickets for a cumulative total of 20,175,536,860 yen (about US$134 million). It is now tied with Princess Mononoke as the #7 highest-earning film of all time in Japan (unadjusted for inflation), and the #4 highest-earning anime film in Japan.
The encore screening opened on October 20. The encore screening run ranked at #1 in its first weekend, and sold 122,000 tickets to earn 159,197,710 yen (about US$1.06 million) in its first three days.
The movie has become the franchise‘s highest-selling and highest-earning film installment, in terms of both the number of tickets sold and yen earned at the box office. The film is also the #8 highest-earning film of all time in Japan and topped Japan’s box office for 2022 in terms of yen earned and tickets sold.
The live-action film of Yumi Tamura‘s Don’t Call It Mystery (Mystery to Iu Nakare or Do not say mystery) manga dropped from #1 to #4 in its eighth weekend. The film earned 121,810,640 yen (about US$811,300) from Friday to Sunday. The film has sold a total of 3.28 million tickets for a cumulative total of 4,442,168,260 yen (about US$29.58 million).
The manga follows mystery-solving college student Totonō Kunō. At the beginning of the story, the police bring him in for questioning on suspicion of the murder of his classmate. The film centers on the manga’s “Hiroshima Arc,” which appears in the manga’s second to fourth volumes. The “Hiroshima Arc” begins when Kunō travels to Hiroshima, and gets involved in a fight for the Kariatsumari family’s inheritance.
The film opened on September 15, and sold 609,600 tickets to earn 850,483,760 yen (about US$5.71 million) in its first three days, ranking #1 in its opening weekend. Masaki Suda reprised his role as protagonist Totonō Kunō from the manga’s live-action series.
Hiroaki Matsuyama, Tomoko Aizawa, and Ken Arai all return from the series as director, scriptwriter, and music composer, respectively.
The encore screening for the Gekijō-ban Utano☆Princesama♪ Maji Love ST☆RISH Tours rose from #8 to #6 in its third weekend. The film earned 53,406,000 yen (about US$355,700) from Friday to Sunday, and has earned a cumulative total of 2,294,508,730 yen (about US$15.28 million).
The encore screening opened in Japan on October 20. The film originally opened in Japan in September 2022.
The film — described as part of a “new theatrical film series” — is entirely composed of concert footage of the ST☆RISH idol group. Noriyasu Agematsu was once again credited as the original creator with Broccoli. Elements Garden composed the music, and A-1 Pictures produced the film. Shochiku is distributing the film.
Digimon Adventure 02 The Beginning, the new film in the Digimon Adventure 02 anime, dropped out of the top 10 in its second weekend, but it still earned 26,343,410 yen (about US$175,400) from Friday to Sunday, and has earned a cumulative total of 118,374,600 yen (about US$788,500).
Eiga Precure All Stars F, the 20th anniversary film in the Precure All Stars crossover anime film series, dropped out of the top 10 in its eighth weekend.
Sources: Kōgyō Tsūshin (link 2), comScore via KOFIC