‘Evangelion’ tops Japan’s box office

Film makes $2.4 million on 84 prints

TOKYO (Tuesday): Released on September 1, the SF toon “Evangelion” topped the weekend box office with Y280 million ($2.4 million) on 236,158 admissions. This are splendiferous numbers given that the pic is released on only 84 prints.

Distrib Nikkatsu reported sold-out screenings across the country. Realizing that the originally skedded Cinema Square, a 224-seat theater in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, would not accommodate the crowds.

Nikkatsu switched to the nearby Milano theater with 1,046 seats, but still had standing-room-only crowds for all seven opening day screenings. The two-day total for the Milano was 12,500 admissions and Y15 million ($130,434). Other theaters around the country averaged Y3 million ($26,086).

Produced by toon house Gainax, the pic is based on the first six episodes of a cult hit TV toon series from a decade ago that has been shown and sold on DVD widely abroad. Prior to release, Nikkatsu kept the story top secret, fueling fan interest.

The pic is part one of a projected fout part series, all of which Nikkatsu plans to release theatrically.

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