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Why Are Japanese Anime Films Enjoying Outsized Success in China? The Answer Is a Combination of Culture, Politics and the Past

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variety.com

Patrick Frater Asia Bureau Chief Reminiscent of the outsized Chinese box office success once enjoyed by a certain genre of Hollywood movie – think “Expendables 3,” Pacific Rim” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” – some Japanese anime films are now earning more in China than they are in their native Japan.

Last year, “Suzume” (pictured above) earned $117 million in China, coming in ahead of the film’s $104 million total in Japan.

And this year, Oscar winner “The Boy and the Heron,” despite its late release in China, enjoyed Middle Kingdom gross revenues of $109 million, dwarfing that of Japan, where the film was received more tepidly and earned only $57 million.

The scale of the China theatrical market has occasionally thrown up other examples of outsized success — in 2016, “Dangal” earned $190 million in China, compared with its already huge $77 million in India; the same year “Bad Genius” earned $41 million in China, compared with its $3.3 million in its native Thailand; Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” grossed $62 million in China, nearly double its $36 million in France — but the volume of Japanese films entering the Middle Kingdom makes this a recurring phenomenon.

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