Not only is Peter Sohn’s Elemental continuing to generate heat at the box office, it’s finding new admirers along the way. The latest fan of the Disney-Pixar film is superstar Japanese director Makoto Shinkai (Suzume, Weathering with You) who saw the film in Japan this past weekend.
After watching it, Shinkai took to Twitter to express his appreciation for the film. Here are his thoughts, translated from Japanese using DeepL:
The movie “My Element” was very good! It was a film full of ambition, with the creators trying to move our emotions in every possible way, and to deliver the best visuals. I am impressed by this attitude and the skill that comes through in the film. It was a spine-tingling experience!
— 新海誠 (@shinkaimakoto) August 7, 2023
It’s worth noting here that Shinkai’s Suzume, which was the third-highest-grossing animated feature globally last year, is eligible for the Oscars this year, where he will find himself in competition against Elemental.
Last weekend’s opening of Elemental in Japan marked the film’s last major international market release. Retitled My Element in the country, the film earned $2.4 million (336.9 million yen) in its opening frame.
The film was bested by Crayon Shin-chan The Movie Super-Powered Climactic Battle: Soaring Hand-Rolled Sushi, the first cg entry in the iconic franchise’s history, which launched with $2.8 million. Elemental’s launch was also low-key for Pixar, ranking 16th among the studio’s openings in Japan, falling between the 2006 opening of Cars (381.2 million yen) and 2017’s Cars 3 (320.1 million yen). But then again, Elemental started slowly in other territories, followed by weeks of great holds. It’s certainly possible that the film could repeat that pattern in Japan.
Despite being out for nearly two months, Elemental was the #8 film globally last weekend, picking up $15.4 million around the world. Its global total is $423.7 million. The film is now profitable for Disney and has completely rewritten the early narrative that it was a flop. It’s the type of turnaround that rarely ever happens for a big-budget Hollywood release and it’s an impressive reminder for Hollywood that they shouldn’t completely write off original concepts and characters just yet.
Watch INBTWN Animation’s interview with Elemental director Peter Sohn: