How China’s Box Office Flatline Caused Your Name to Dethrone the King of Japanese Anime Films.
While Kimi no Na wa (Your Name) has been blazing a trail and breaking records left and right the film has struggled to overcome the final hurdle that holds all the number one spots. Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’.
That was until the January numbers for worldwide gross were released.
Your Name came in approximately 17 million dollars ($281,012,839) over Spirited Away’s 264 million after the 2017 January box office numbers in the French, South Korean and most notably Chinese markets were tallied.
For Your Name, the Chinese box office was responsible for 30% of worldwide box office gross at a staggering $82,452,174. For comparison, that is more than 10x the number of the second largest foreign box office, South Korea at $8,089,621.
Although Spirited Away also performed well in the International market, when comparing the largest foreign box office for Your Name, China with $84 million, and the largest foreign box office for Spirited Away, South Korea with $11,382,770, it is clear that China had a huge impact on Your Name’s worldwide gross, however, had a few things gone differently this may not have been the case. It could be argued that a series of unexpected events caused Your Name to dethrone the Japanese anime film king Spirited Away.
Between 2003, when Spirited Away was released in most foreign markets and 2015, China’s box office gross had experienced growth year on year. Going from less than 1 billion to over 45 billion yuan (approx 6.5 billion USD) however, by the fall season of 2016 it was clear this growth would not continue. China experienced an unexpected and unprecedented flatline in their box office growth. The flatline caused China to choose between a full year decline and allowing in more foreign film releases to boost growth.
Historically China only allows 34 foreign films per year, but when facing a decline in growth China chose to bump that number up to 38 and by November it had been decided that Sully, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Your Name would have access to the market.
Not only was Your Name given access to the market, it was also released in December, one of the busiest times for movie theaters and a month that is typically blacked out for Chinese made theatrical releases only. Without having the Chinese release, Your Name would have only just broken $200 million worldwide, putting it $64 million behind Spirited Away.
With the upcoming release in North America on the 7th of April this is certainly subject to change but Kimi no Na wa certainly ran into some fortune to dethrone Spirited Away.
Miyazaki’s Japanese anime film giant still holds the Oscar and the domestic box office with $229 million vs $194 million for Kimi no Na wa, two records unlikely to be broken by the 2016 smash hit.