In Japan, the live action version of Beauty and the Beast has waltzed gracefully into the number one spot with US$9.7 million at the box office, making it Disney’s biggest success ever in Japan. This outdoes Frozen which opened with US$9.5 million in 2014 and went on to become Japan’s third highest grossing film.
Last week’s number one, the 21st anime in the Detective Conan series, Detective Conan: The Crimson Love Letter has been pushed back to number two position earning US$6.8 million over the last weekend. In turn, the 25th anime in the Shin-chan series, Crayon Shin-chan Invasion!! Alien Shiriri, descended to the number three position with earnings of US$1.8 million.
In Japan’s number four spot is a newcomer – of sorts. One month ago saw the release of March Comes in Like a Lion, a drama about a reclusive teenager shōgi prodigy who starts to socialise with three sisters who live next door. Picking up US$1.17 million at the box office, it flopped like a jellyfish in seventh place on the Japanese charts, leaving Toho and Asmik Ace executives scratching their heads as to why an adaptation of a popular manga headed by Ryunosuke Kamiki could perform so poorly.
Over the weekend, the sequel March Comes in Like a Lion 2 opened in the number four slot – three rungs higher than the first part – but it gathered even less: $US1.16 million on its opening weekend. Clearly the strategy was to have the first “sure-fire hit” film still playing when the second premiered, but no such luck. While it would’ve been a miracle for the second film to do better than the first, the film’s producers can console themselves with the knowledge that almost everyone who saw the first film was satisfied enough to see the second.
On its second lap of the Chinese and South Korean box office, The Fate of the Furious’ takings continued to accelerate. In Korea, the eighth movie in the franchise added another US$5.1 million over the weekend to lead to its current tally of $19.5 million, while in China, the Vin Diesel vehicle accrued US$51.7 million over the weekend and has now reached a cumulative total of US$325.5 million.
Eating the dust of The Fate of the Furious in China was Smurfs: The Lost Village. The latest in the Sony-bankrolled adaptations of the Belgian comic strip took in US$10.9 million over the weekend (current total US$11.8 million), out-distancing romantic comedy Mr Pride vs Miss Prejudice.
The Chinese rom-com, which has now picked up US$11.3 million, sees the ethnically Uyghur actress Dilraba Dilmurat expanding her sphere of influence beyond her fame established in TV shows like Hot Girl and Eternal Love.
On the South Korean circuit, those following The Fate of the Furious were in a closer race. Though clearly out-classed, Korean comedy Daddy You, Daughter Me held on to second place for the second week in a row, picking up an additional US$1.1 million this week, bringing its current total to US$3.9 million.
In the third position, Beauty and the Beast has reached a total of US$36.4 million, despite taking in less than a million in box office receipts in the past week.
While in fourth position Power Rangers picked up an uninspiring US$357,106 over the weekend, another team of superheroes got a second run. The original Guardians of the Galaxy movie was relaunched in the Korean market in anticipation of the worldwide roll out of the sequel.
Acting as a promotion for the next “Marvel Universe” instalment, the Guardians of the Galaxy reached the eighth slot and, picked up – this time around – just over US$120,000. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 begins playing in South Korea on May 3 and no doubt will pick up more cash than that.