Japan Box Office: ‘Big Hero 6’ Opens Strongly, In Second Place

TOKYO – “Big Hero 6,” or “Baymax” as it is known locally, had the second-highest opening weekend ever in the Japanese market for a Disney animation, after this year’s number one smash “Frozen.”

For the Dec. 20-21 frame the movie earned $5.35 million from 464,000 admissions at 540 screens, good enough for second place in the weekend rankings. That compares with $6.37 million on 602,000 admissions for the opening weekend of “Frozen,” which went on to earn $212 million in Japan, the most of any film released this year.

“Baymax” is not expected to approach that total, but its forecast finish of around $50 million all but guarantees it a place in next year’s B.O. top 10. The picture’s strong connection with Japanese culture, beginning with setting of ‘San Fransokyo,’ and the Tokyo festival publicity has evidently struck a chord with local fans.

The number one film for the weekend was another animated effort, “Yo-Kai Watch the Movie: The Secret Is Created, Nyan!,” which is based on a popular Nintendo role-playing game.

Bowing on 408 screens, the cartoon scooped $13.6 million, a new record for a release by Toho, Japan’s biggest domestic distributor. It also beats the $12.3 million recorded in 2004 by “Howl’s Moving Castle,” the all-time record opening for a Japanese film since the base from calculating B.O. figures changed from distributor to exhibitor earnings in 2000.

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