Third Recent Anime Film to Top Japan’s Biggest Box Office One Piece Openings!

All of us fortunate enough to call ourselves One Piece fans have known for a long that One Piece Film: Red was going to be a massive event. In fact, the new movie protagonist is the unmentioned offspring of a major and mysterious player in the One Piece universe. Now that Red has opened in Japan and France, it has received a response well beyond anything I, a well-documented One Piece fanatic, could have predicted. As of this writing, the film’s theme tune is Apple Music’s most streamed music in the entire world. In the meantime, Red enjoyed the second-highest opening weekend of all time in Japan. Not to mention the shortened weekend.

Spirited Away, a 2001 classic from Studio Ghibli, has long been used by those of us who are nerdy enough to care about such things as a barometer when describing patterns in Japanese box office success to others. Nonetheless, Spirited Away’s reign at the top of the Japanese box office has been slipping as of late.

For the record, Your Name, directed by Makoto Shinkai, is now the highest-grossing anime film of all time, surpassing Mamoru Oshii’s The Wind Rises. This will be followed by 2020’s Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, which will set a new benchmark for highest-grossing opening weekends for films of its type. Over time, Mugen Train brutally shredded Spirited Away’s records until it became the highest-grossing Japanese picture of all time over the world (not just anime, all Japanese films).

In the short time since then, three of the highest-grossing opening weekends of all time in Japanese cinema have belonged to live-action adaptations of popular anime series. When compared to other similar games, Mugen Train is still the best option. Next, there’s Red, the latest instalment of the One Piece film series. Finally, in 2021, we saw the release of Jujutsu Kaisen 0, the third and final instalment of the trilogy.

Japan Box Office One Piece
Japan Box Office One Piece

Red was published on a Saturday in Japan, not a Friday like Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and Mugen Train. Red wins the box office against Jujutsu Kaisen 0 on the basis of “two-day opening” figures. However, if we use the word “weekend” to introduce the Friday box office pull of Jujutsu Kaisen 0, Panda and his friends will come out on top. Is Panda the main character in Jujutsu Kaisen 0? That’s not the case at all. Should I consider him the hero of my story? The answer is “yes” without a doubt.

In any case, it’s a major step forward for the One Piece movies. This is the best opening weekend for a One Piece movie by a long shot. If I had to guess, I’d say that the perfect storm of hype is to credit for Red’s success to the exclusion of the other films. For such a pivotal character (he handed Luffy his freaking hat), Shanks has had virtually no screentime after episode four, out of nearly 1,030, so his presence cannot truly be exaggerated as a pull. So.

With the commencement of the manga’s final adventure coinciding with the series’ 25th anniversary, One Piece has been in the spotlight even more than usual. The singer behind Uta’s voice, Ado, is a major deal in Japan right now. The excitement surrounding the film is the same whether you’re interested in it because of her or just because it’s a One Piece film with freaking song sequences.

The global reception of One Piece Film: Red is still mainly unknown. We only know that the film will be released this fall, and that’s because Crunchyroll is handling distribution in the United States, Canada, and Australia. But the more successful it is, the more incentive Toei and other anime studios have to keep generating these massive spectacles. If you enjoy anime and are able to go see it at a theatre, you will be helping other people who share your interest. Don’t feel obligated to say anything if you aren’t, my friend.

What the combined massive success of Mugen Train, Jujutsu Kaisen 0, and Red means for the future of anime is intriguing, though. Japan’s all-time box office records have been broken by three quite recent films based on three different successful shounen TV/manga series. There’s enough new international records for Mugen Train to warrant their own article just listing them all. If I were Nami and trying to predict the future of anime production by reading the winds, I’d guess that this bodes well for the development of even more ambitious anime film projects in the coming years. Perhaps the Attack on Titan film will be made after all.

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