From ‘Zero’ to Japan B.O. Hit in Five Weeks

TOKYO — The WWII kamikaze pilot epic “The Eternal Zero” won its fifth weekend in a row at the Japanese B.O. while cruising past the JPY5 billion ($49 million) milestone, the marker of megahit status in the Nippon market.

Directed by veteran CGI maestro Takashi Yamazaki, the pic had earned $49.5 million from 4,195,430 admissions by January 19.

 This surpasses the $49 million take of “Yamato,” Junya Sato’s 2005 pic about the title battleship that was the highest-earning Japanese WWII film in recent years.

The pic stars popster-cum-actor Junichi Okada as an ace pilot of the fabled Zero fighter plane who is scorned by his fellow flyers for wanting to survive the war, instead of seeking glorious death in the name of the Emperor. Later, as the war situation deteriorates for Japan, he joins the tokkotai (“kamikaze” or suicide pilot) squadron that is making last-ditch attacks on US Navy ships.

One fan is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who watched the film with his wife and mother on Dec. 31 and was reported to be deeply moved.
  
 
 

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