Another year, another anime bombshell at the Japanese box office.
Franchise film Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is continuing its dream run. In its eighth weekend, it grossed 226 million yen (USD$1.96 million), taking the top spot for the fourth straight week. Its cume has now passed 11 billion yen ($95 million).
That places it ahead of Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time, which ended its run with 10.28 billion yen, topping the Japanese box office in 2021. As Jujutsu Kaisen 0 came out on December 24, it is now the highest-grossing film in Japan that was released last year (though the bulk of its gross has come in 2022).
The feature is now the 27th-highest-grossing in Japanese box office history, and comes in ninth when the list is limited to domestic animated productions. It is behind five movies by Hayao Miyazaki, two by Makoto Shinkai, and of course 2020’s runaway hit Demon Slayer — Kimetsu no Yaiba — The Movie: Mugen Train, which is in first place with 40.43 billion yen. Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises is eighth, with 12.02 billion yen.
Japan’s box office has been unusually resilient in the pandemic. Animated films have done particularly well: not counting Jujutsu Kaisen 0,the three best-performing films in the country last year were all anime. The country has been relatively unaffected by Covid, compared with other major markets.
In Jujutsu Kaisen 0, high-school student Yuta Okkotsu learns to control the spirit of his late friend Rika, who haunts him. The source material is Gege Akutami’s manga series of the same name, which was serialized — under a different title — in 2017.
The film serves as a prequel to the anime series Jujutsu Kaisen, which is also based on an Akutami manga, and is available on Crunchyroll and HBO Max. Both film and series were helmed by South Korean director Sunghoo Park at Mappa. A second season of the series will come out next year.
Toho is distributing Jujutsu Kaisen 0 in Japan. Crunchyroll will release it in North American theaters on March 18.