After “Suzume” Breaks Ticket Records in China, Director Makoto Shinkai Says “Japanese Animation’s Global Box Office Has Entered Another Phase”

After less than a month in Chinese theaters, Makoto Shinkai’s latest blockbuster Suzume no Tojimari (Suzume) continued to absolutely dominate the local market – a development the film’s aforementioned director took as an optimistic sign that the “global Japanese animation box office has entered a new phase”.

Suzume in 2nd Suzume Trailer (2022), Toho Animation via Youtube

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In the latest Shinkai, 17-year-old Suzume Iwato stumbles upon an encounter with another high school student, Souta Munakata, who, thanks to an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious feline creature Daijin, has been transformed into a childhood chair.

It only gets worse for the duo after Suzume finds and opens a mysterious door, which causes other doors to open across Japan and triggers various natural disasters on the country. To prevent further destruction, the duo embarked on a journey to both close the danger-filled gates and reverse Souta’s curse.

While the film did well around the world, according to the Japan Times, its results in China were particularly impressive. There, since April 18, susume had attracted 752 million yuan (14.66 billion yen) in less than four weeks, it was available.

In doing so, the film not only quickly surpassed its Japan release’s four-month earnings of around $180 million, but also snagged the record for the highest-grossing anime film ever released in the communist country.

suzume chair

Suzume riding the train with Souta in Suzume (2022), Toho Animation via Twitter

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In response to susumeShinkai said on Twitter that he believes the film’s success in China marks a new period of prosperity for the Japanese anime industry.

“This is the first time in history that a movie that has grossed more than 10 billion yen domestically has even exceeded that amount in a foreign country,” Shinkai announced (translated via DeepL). “susume also ranked first among all Japanese films at the overseas box office.

“Personally, I feel that the global Japanese animation box office has entered another phase,” he added. “It’s also the result of what various other films have built up.”

tweet shinkai

Makoto Shinkai on Twitter

Additionally, the director acknowledged that while it was likely that these records would be broken in no time, he still felt immense gratitude towards the overseas audiences who made the film’s current position possible.

“I’m sure the [box office] record of susume will be crushed in the not too distant future,” Shinkai said in a follow-up tweet. “Anyway, I want to thank all foreign audiences who have seen our foreign productions in theaters.”

Signing off with a hint on his next moves, he finally wrote, “The box office in Japan will continue (I will announce the event in the near future!) and I will be heading to India for the premiere tomorrow. I hope you like it!”

Shinkai Tweet 2

Makoto Shinkai on Twitter

As of May 1, Suzume has grossed a total of $320.1 million worldwide, making it the fourth highest-grossing anime film of all time.

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