On Tuesday, the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan announced the revenue from films screened in Japan in 2023. 

The four highest-grossing movies were all anime, with The First Slam Dunk topping the list. It earned ¥15.9 billion in sales, ahead of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which raked in ¥14.02 billion. In third place was Toho’s Detective Conan: Black Iron Submarine (¥13.8 billion), followed by Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron (¥8.84 billion). Completing the top five was Kingdom 3: The Flame of Destiny.  

The Japanese box office rose 3.9% to a post-pandemic high of ¥221.5 billion ($1.5 billion), while cinema admissions were up 2.3% to 15.5 million. A total of 676 domestic films accounted for 67% of the market share last year, taking in approximately ¥148 billion ($1 billion). Eight of the top 10 highest-grossing films in 2023 were made in Japan, including Godzilla Minus One, which only came out in November. Aside from The Super Mario Bros. Movie, the only other Hollywood flick to make the top 10 was Mission Impossible  Dead Reckoning Part One.  

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Barbie Doesn’t Even Make the Top 50  

The three other films that made up the top 10 were Don’t Call It Mystery: The MovieTokyo MER: Mobile Emergency Room: The Movie and Doraemon: Nobita’s Sky Utopia. Barbie, the world’s highest-grossing film of 2023 and the highest-grossing live-action-comedy movie of all time, wasn’t even in the top 50 in Japan. It was criticized here last summer after the Barbie US Twitter account positively interacted with fans who posted Barbenheimer memes that were accused of trivializing the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The other film in question, Oppenheimer, is slated for release in Japan on March 29, 2024 

Japan’s Highest-Grossing Film in 2023: The First Slam Dunk 

Winner of the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year in 2023, The First Slam Dunk follows Ryota Miyagi, a 17-year-old point guard of Shohoku High School’s basketball team, as he and his teammates challenge the talented inter-high basketball champions, Sannoh Kogyo High School. Written and directed by Takehiko Inoue, the man who created the iconic basketball manga series, it was released theatrically in Japan on December 3, 2022. It is currently the fifth highest-grossing anime film of all time.

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