In only 28 days since its release, Your Name. has made over 11.1 billion yen at the Japanese box office .
This film is a historic big hit in Japan. The director, Makoto Shinkai (5 Centimeters Per Second) also wrote the original story and the screenplay.
Let’s try to analyse and discuss what it means to exceed 10 billion yen at the Japanese box office.
A box office number only Hayao Miyazaki reached in the past
Japan’s film industry may be the fourth biggest in the world, but the number that determines what a big hit is quite small.
In the United States and China, ten billion yen is the deciding line of a big hit movie, but in Japan it’s only two billion yen. It’s an incredible feat for a movie to exceed 11.1 billion yen in Japan.
Only 30 films have achieved to surpass 10 billion yen at the Japanese box office so far.
Most of them are live-action western and Japanese movies, or Disney films. The only Japanese anime movies with more than 10 billion yen at the Japanese box office were made by Ghibli. And only those directed by Hayao Miyazaki exceeded the 10 billion yen mark.
Makoto Shinkai is the second director after Hayao Miyazaki to make it.
His last film before Kimi no Na wa., Kotonoha no Niwa (Garden of Words) made only 150 million. He was just your average, semi-famous anime creator, but now his name has spread throughout Japan.
Kimi no Na wa. What’s the Secret Recipe?
The Disney movie Frozen made 25.4 billion yen at the Japanese box office. It exceeded the 10 billion mark 37 days after launch. The Wind Rises by Hayao Miyazaki made 1.2 billion yen at the Japanese box office in total. Your Name. is now making much more than those two works combined.
Your Name. has some rather unusual points that shouldn’t have contributed to its success, but they did:
Frozen was released during spring break in Japan, a time that boosts tickets sales. Lots of people go see movies in theaters, and many film production companies publish their movies in the springtime.
The Wind Rises was released during summer break,a time when Pokemon movies come out every year in Japan. Since summer break is longer than spring break, more people go to watch movies. Both movies were released during vacation seasons, however, Your Name. came out at the very end of summer break, August 26. People go back to work and children go back to school. The timing was not the best, and the director didn’t have the name of Miyazaki or the brand logo of Disney.
So, what happened?
Shinkai Went the Long Way
Shinkai decided to be different. He had already expressed the beauty of art and the feeling of being lost in 5 Centimeters Per Second and Garden of Words.
His old films included many monologues. They exist in Your Name. as well, but much less compared to his old works. Even in Shakespeare the monologues are great but tiring and the same happens in movies: too many monologues may satisfy the author who wants to show his opinion, but the audience doesn’t really like it. Your Name. cut down on the approach and in return feels fresher.
In the film the protagonist is aggressively optimistic. If you think that’s not a valid point, think again: In his old works, the protagonists are living passively. They don’t fight against their destiny, but the protagonists in Your Name. struggle to change their fate. This is a feature highly unusual for the director, and it made it easier for the audience to feel empathy towards the characters. It is a typical romance albeit in a peculiar setting, and people like that approach.
People often talk about the beautiful art of Makoto Shinkai. This movie is not an exception, and some say it is worth watching the movie just for the art.
And the show still goes on…
Your Name. is still going strong at the Japanese box office. It’s possible that it will reach 20 billion yen only in Japan. This sensational movie will be released worldwide. Here are the release dates for UK and US. The sensation of Your Name. is about to spread around the world.