×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The ‘Battle’ rattle

Controversial teen pic bows with OK B.O.

TOKYO — A controversial movie about teen violence scored a moderate opening weekend at the box office after exhibs ignored politicians’ pleas not to show it.

“Battle Royale” went out with a rare R-15 rating (no one under 15 admitted) on 200 screens and grossed 212 million yen ($1.88 million) over the Saturday to Sunday frame.

On the day the movie opened, a 17-year-old boy attacked commuters with a baseball bat outside a busy Tokyo commuter station, injuring eight people, one of them seriously.

It was the reaction politicians feared amid rising teen violence. The nation was stunned recently when a 17-year-old boy hijacked a bus, held a schoolgirl at knifepoint as a human shield and stabbed a women to death in a hostage standoff that was broadcast on national television.

A month later, another 17-year-old clubbed his mother to death because she would not give him pocket money.

Japanese politicians rarely comment on cinema content. But Education Minister Nobutaka Machimura met executives before “Battle Royale” opened and asked them to tone down future movies, while pols from ruling and opposition camps asked exhibs not to show the film.

Media interest

Despite the warnings and poor reviews, about 900 people lined up to see the opening show at producer Toei’s main theater as stars and director Kinji Fukasaku greeted the audience. The opening also made the news as about 150 members of the media covered the screening.

The film is set in an apocalyptic future in which the country is in a state of collapse and schools are marred by uncontrolled violence. The government organizes an annual Battle Royale, in which a class is pitted against itself on an abandoned island in a game of survival.

Toei officials hope the film will make $35 million at the box office.

More Film

  • Woolsey Fire Malibu

    Many Malibu Areas Still Off-Limits for Filming After Fire

    The California Film Commission has maintained its ban on filming in several Malibu areas hit by the massive Woolsey fire in Southern California last month. The commission announced Tuesday that due to continued clean-up and repair work along Pacific Coast Highway, permits for filming on the highway are not being issued at this time. PCH [...]

  • Against the Clock

    Film News Roundup: Andy Garcia's Spy Thriller 'Against the Clock' Bought by Gravitas

    In today’s film news roundup, Andy Garcia’s spy thriller is sold, “Battlestar Galactica” gets a screenwriter, and Brooklyn Decker gets an award. ACQUISITION Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to spy thriller “Against the Clock,” starring Andy Garcia, Dianna Agron (“Glee”), and Justin Bartha, Variety has learned exclusively. The film, formerly titled “Headlock,” is [...]

  • 'Pacific Rim Uprising' film premiere

    John Boyega in Talks to Star in Legal Drama 'A Naked Singularity'

    “Star Wars” actor John Boyega is in talks to star in the legal drama “A Naked Singularity” with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions on board to produce. The movie is based on Sergio De La Pava’s debut novel, which centers on a successful New York public defender whose life begins to unravel after he loses [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Outpacing 'Wonder Woman' in Fandango Pre-Sales

    Pre-sales of “Aquaman,” which opens on Thursday night, are outpacing “Wonder Woman” at the same point in the advance ticket sales cycle on online ticketer Fandango. “Wonder Woman” opened with $103 million domestically during the June 2 to June 4, 2017, weekend on its way to a $412 million North American total for Warner Bros. “Aquaman,” [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

  • Box Office: 'Aquaman,' 'Mary Poppins Returns'

    Box Office: 'Aquaman' Battles 'Mary Poppins Returns' in Crowded Holiday Weekend

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the most competitive time at the multiplexes. This weekend sees two very different heroes vying for the box office crown with “Aquaman” and “Mary Poppins Returns” both eyeing sizable debuts. “Mary Poppins Returns” is getting a head start by opening on Wednesday, though estimates show “Aquaman” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content