Japanese animation film ‘Suzume’ a hit in China and South Korea

Japanese animation film “Suzume” was top of the Chinese box office at the close of its opening weekend — grossing over 90 million yuan ($13 million) — while in South Korea, more that 3 million moviegoers saw the film within the first three weeks of its release.

That is the biggest opening score by any film this year outside of the Chinese New Year holiday week in late January. The next best is “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” which opened with $19.4 million in mid-February.

Citing figures from the China Movie Data Information Network, state media Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday that the latest work by Japanese animation director Makoto Shinkai reached the top of the national movie viewing charts on Sunday, the third day of its screening.

Suzume now boasts the largest Chinese debut for a Shinkai title as well. In 2016, Your Name debuted with $41.3 million on its way to an $83.7 million total and in 2019, Weathering With You opened with $22 million, eventually grossing $40.8 million.

Directed by Shinkai Makoto, “Suzume” was a hit in Japan where it was released late last year and has remained on screens for a $105 million total. It played in February at the Berlin Film Festival, where it came away largely empty-handed, but has subsequently performed strongly in the Asian territories where it has released. (In South Korea, where it is now the second highest grossing film released in 2023, its third weekend is its strongest to date.)

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