Swashbuckler passes million mark in Japan

TOKYO — Warner Entertainment Japan’s comic-to-screen period swashbuckler “Rurouni Kenshin,” which has just hit the 1 million admissions mark in Japan, has been sold to 64 territories, the distrib has revealed.

Countries where the pic is set to screen include Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. is not yet on the list.

The pic is based on Nobuhiro Watsuki’s best-selling comic about a feudal era assassin, who decides to protect people rather than kill them following the end of the shogunate, and the start of Japan’s modern era in 1868.

Helmer Keishi Otomo made a string of hit dramas for pubcaster NHK, before going independent in 2011 and signing a three-pic deal with Warner the same year, which is highly unusual for Japan.

Star Takeru Sato also appeared in the 2009 samurai actioner “Goemon,” which Warner co-distribbed with Shochiku.

Released on 329 screens on Aug. 25, “Rurouni” has been a scorcher at the late summer B.O. and is expected to finish north of $50 million.

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