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“Godzilla Minus One” Breaks Box Office Records in North America, Revitalizing Japanese Live-Action Cinema

Surpassing "Demon Slayer's" record, "Godzilla Minus One" becomes the second highest-grossing Japanese film in the U.S., while Hayao Miyazaki's "How Are You Living?" also achieves significant success
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“Godzilla Minus One” has emerged as a box office juggernaut in North America, defying expectations and revitalizing the image of Japanese live-action films overseas. Since its release on December 1, 2023, the film has continued to dominate theaters, maintaining over 1000 screens into January 2024. As of January 9th, “Godzilla Minus One” has grossed $49.55 million, surpassing the $49.5 million record set by “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train” in 2021, and is now the second-highest grossing Japanese movie in the United States, following “Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back.”

This landmark achievement signifies a major shift in the perception of live-action Japanese films, which historically have struggled to match the overseas success of anime. The film’s success extends beyond the box office, as it has also garnered critical acclaim, winning awards such as the Chicago Film Critics Association’s Best VFX Film Award and the Las Vegas Film Critics Association’s Best International Film Award.

In tandem with “Godzilla Minus One,” Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” has also made a significant impact. Released a week after “Godzilla Minus One,” it surpassed $40 million at the box office by January 9th, ranking fifth among Japanese films and fourth among Japanese anime in history. The film’s critical reception has been equally impressive, with wins at the New York and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, and a historic Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Film, a first for a foreign film in this category. It also received seven nominations at the Annie Awards, affirming its status in the animation world.

With the Academy Awards nominations on the horizon, both “Godzilla Minus One” and “The Boy and the Heron” are expected to continue their remarkable runs. These successes not only mark a turning point for Japanese cinema in the global market but also signal a growing appreciation for the diversity and quality of films emerging from Japan.

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