The First Slam Dunk, the highly anticipated anime film adaptation of Takehiko Inoue's beloved Slam Dunk basketball manga, has achieved a monumental feat in the Japanese box office. Surpassing the lifetime domestic earnings of Makoto Shinkai's critically acclaimed Weathering With You film, The First Slam Dunk has now become the 15th highest-earning film of all time in Japan and the ninth highest-earning anime film in the country.
As of Sunday, The First Slam Dunk has garnered a staggering 14.33 billion yen (approximately US$102.1 million) in Japan, captivating audiences with its compelling story and dynamic basketball action. This remarkable achievement solidifies the film's place in the annals of Japanese cinema history.
However, The First Slam Dunk still trails behind Shinkai's Suzume film, which concluded its theatrical run on Saturday after amassing an impressive 11.15 million tickets sold and earning 14.79 billion yen (about US$105.4 million) at the box office.
During its opening weekend, The First Slam Dunk made a slam dunk entrance, claiming the top spot at the box office. Drawing in a large audience, the film sold 847,000 tickets and raked in 1,295,808,780 yen (about US$9.50 million). The film's phenomenal success was further recognized when it was awarded Animation of the Year at the prestigious 46th annual Japan Academy Film Prizes. Additionally, Toshiyuki Matsui, the film's producer, received the general award at the 42nd annual Fujimoto Awards presented by the Eiga Engeki Bunka Kyōkai (Film Theater Culture Association).
Exciting news awaits fans outside of Japan as well, as GKIDS has secured the rights to release The First Slam Dunk in the United States and Canada. Fans can look forward to experiencing the film in both an English dubbed version and the original Japanese audio with English subtitles, set to hit theaters this summer. GKIDS provides an enticing description of the film, highlighting the thrilling journey of the Shohoku High School basketball team:
"Shohoku's 'speedster' and point guard, Ryota Miyagi, always plays with brains and lightning speed, running circles around his opponents while feigning composure. Born and raised in Okinawa, Ryota had a brother who was three years older. Following in the footsteps of his older brother, who was a famous local player from a young age, Ryota also became addicted to basketball. In his second year of high school, Ryota plays with the Shohoku High School basketball team along with Sakuragi, Rukawa, Akagi, and Mitsui as they take the stage at the Inter-High School National Championship. And now, they are on the brink of challenging the reigning champions, Sannoh Kogyo High School."
Under the personal direction of Takehiko Inoue himself, The First Slam Dunk showcases the extraordinary talents of Toei Animation. Inoue's involvement extends beyond directing, as he also penned the script for the film. The creative team includes accomplished individuals such as character designer/animation director Yasuyuki Ebara (known for Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress) and technical directors Katsuhiko Kitada (credited for Attack on Titan episodes and Major: Yūjō no Winning Shot), Naoki Miyahara (recognized for Digimon Adventure and Popin Q), Toshio Ōhashi (known for LayereD Stories 0), and Yū Kamatani (noted for Looking for Magical DoReMi and Precure Super Stars!). Daiki Nakazawa took charge of the CG direction, while Yūta Ogura served as the CG producer. Kazuo Ogura contributed as the art director, ensuring a visually stunning film. The sound direction was skillfully handled by Yota Tsuruoka, along with Koji Kasamatsu.
The First Slam Dunk's success extends beyond its financial achievements. It has captivated audiences with its seamless blend of heartfelt storytelling, exhilarating basketball sequences, and Inoue's masterful character development. Fans of the original manga have praised the film for faithfully capturing the essence of the beloved series while adding a fresh and dynamic cinematic experience.
With GKIDS bringing the film to international audiences, fans around the world eagerly await the opportunity to witness the magic of The First Slam Dunk. The English dubbed version will allow a wider audience to immerse themselves in the world of Shohoku High School and root for Ryota Miyagi and his teammates as they strive to challenge the reigning champions, Sannoh Kogyo High School.
As The First Slam Dunk continues to make waves at the box office, it solidifies its place among the highest-grossing anime films in Japan's rich cinematic history. Its remarkable performance not only pays tribute to the enduring popularity of the Slam Dunk franchise but also highlights the incredible talent and passion of the creators and the unwavering support of fans.
As the film continues its triumphant journey, fans eagerly anticipate future projects that will further expand upon the captivating world of Slam Dunk. The First Slam Dunk's success serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of Takehiko Inoue's basketball epic and the power of anime storytelling to resonate with audiences of all ages.
With its impressive box office performance and critical acclaim, The First Slam Dunk has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the anime film landscape, solidifying its place as a modern classic and an unforgettable cinematic experience for basketball and anime enthusiasts alike.
The First Slam Dunk Manga is now available on MangaMonster.