The First Slam Dunk, an anime phenomenon, outperformed the opposition at China’s box office over the weekend, earning $56 million in its first four days. With only $3.5 million, Jackie Chan’s enduring action comedy Ride On came in second, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie from Universal, which took home $2 million, came in a distant fourth.
The First Slam Dunk made the unusual decision to debut on Thursday, but the gambit paid off as the movie generated positive word of mouth and made a strong early splash of $13 million on a weekday. The film is produced by Japan’s Toei Animation but is jointly distributed in China by China Film Co. and Road Pictures. The movie has garnered rave reviews on all of China’s main movie review websites, including a perfect 9.2 from the Douban fan community and a 9.4 on the Maoyan and Taopiaopiao ticketing applications.
Before its run in China is up, it’s anticipated to make $100 million. The new movie, The First Slam Dunk, was written and directed by Inoue Takehiko and is an adaptation of a well-known Japanese manga series. An earlier 1990s animated TV series adaption was a huge success in China. The new movie seems to be capitalizing on nostalgia for the generation of fans who fell in love with that program as well as basketball’s ongoing, enduring popularity in China.
Here is a tweet related to this topic:
China Box Office: Anime Sensation ‘First Slam Dunk’ Scores Big With $56M Opening https://t.co/XuUhOo7OTe
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) April 24, 2023
The film masterfully combines exhilarating basketball action with a touching tale of growing up and giving the game your best. The First Slam Dunk is the latest in a string of excellent Japanese anime performances at Chinese multiplexes. Since its premiere in late March, Mokoto Shinkai’s anime fantasy Suzume has brought in nearly $110 million across the nation.
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So far, The First Slam Dunk has had widespread success almost everywhere it has been distributed. About $100 million was made by the movie in its native Japan, and $35.5 million was made in South Korea. It now holds the top spot for the year in Korea and Japan, where it is the largest movie of 2023. Release dates for the United Kingdom and North America have not yet been determined, according to Toei.
Hollywood studio movies recently fell short of Middle Kingdom animation in terms of revenue. While Disney/Marvel’s Ant-Man 3 only made $39 million (as opposed to over $100 million for each of its franchise predecessors), Universal’s Super Mario Bros. earned roughly $20 million of its $872 million global total in China.
Chinese tentpoles will rule the forthcoming Labor Day holiday period in China, which runs from April 29 to May 3. These films include the eagerly anticipated action epic Born to Fly, which is akin to Top Gun, the family road drama Godspeed, and the disaster film Flash Over. Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will return Hollywood to the market on May 5, followed by local franchise favorite Fast X on May 17 and Warner Bros.’ eagerly anticipated DC superhero debut, The Flash, on June 16.
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