The anime event of the year is selling tickets in China even more quickly than it did in Japan.
Makoto Shinkai’s runaway hit, Your Name, has piled up an impressive list of accomplishments in Japan. Not only is it the highest-earning film, by far, in the country this year, its Japanese box office total has surpassed that of such iconic movies as The Wind Rises, Princess Mononoke, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
So with its Japanese legacy established, it’s now time for Your Name to start breaking records overseas. On December 2, Your Name opened in China, roughly three months after its Japanese release. The amount of buzz the film built up in that time seems to have had Chinese anime fans extremely excited to watch it, as they’ve turned out in droves to see just what makes the movie special at the 5,000-plus theaters that are showing Your Name.
As of December 17, Shinkai’s anime has earned 533 million yuan (US$76.7 million), which makes it the highest-grossing Japanese film ever to be released in Chinese theaters. Granted, the Chinese market’s historically lax attitude about paying for entertainment content may take some of the luster off of the “of all-time” designation, but 533 million yuan in just over two weeks is an outstanding reaction from Chinese audiences As a matter of fact, by current exchange rates, it’s outpacing Your Name’s initial Japanese box office performance, when it earned 9.1 billion yen (US$77.4 million) in its first three and a half weeks.
While Your Name screened briefly in the Los Angeles area to qualify for Academy Award consideration, it won’t see wider release in the U.S. until sometime in 2017. With its phenomenal success in both Japan and China, though, it’ll be interesting to see if it can attract sizeable American audiences as well.