Cannes Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters has continued its mighty start at the Japanese box office, raking in a further $7M in its second week to take its cume to an exceptional $16.3M (￥1.8B) as of June 17 inclusive.
Admissions are up to a hefty 1,465,052 for Hirokaza Kore-eda’s widely-praised drama, which is handled locally by Gaga. Last week, the film became the fastest live-action pic this year to cross the billion yen mark in Japan, beating out Hollywood titles Deadpool 2 (which is enjoying a strong run, while playing on twice the number of screens) and All The Money In The World to land number one in the charts.
The film, whose cast includes Kore-eda regulars Lily Franky and Kirin Kiki, follows a family of small-time crooks who take in a child they find on the streets. Japan, a big local market, has a strong tradition of family dramas and auteur Kore-eda has history of hitting home with audiences.
The director’s 2013 critical favorite Like Father, Like Son, which won the Jury Prize in Cannes and was picked up for a remake by jury president Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks — despite having confoundingly been overlooked by Japan as its Oscar submission that year — finished on a whopping $30M at home. There are hopes Shoplifters can match that stellar performance. Kore-eda’s latest effort is playing on around 25 more screens than Like Father, Like Son, and is currently ahead of that film after two weeks.
A $30M total would give it a strong chance of finishing in the top 10 movies of the year, though the film’s box office run will be tested this week after an earthquake in the Osaka area today closed some theaters. Heading into the market in two weeks is Solo: A Star Wars Story, and despite that film’s clipped wings elsewhere, Star Wars is a massive franchise in a market that has almost zero threat from piracy.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for the movie, either. Headlines were made when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe didn’t congratulate Kore-eda on his Cannes success leading to speculation that he wasn’t a fan of the film’s themes. Kore-eda then turned down an invitation to celebrate the film at the culture ministry, though he has played down that decision saying he had also turned down other invitations.
Magnolia has U.S. rights to the film while Wild Bunch handles international sales.
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