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Shinkai Makoto’s new anime feature “Suzume” has earned $13.5 million (JPY1.88 billion) in just three days since its Nov. 11 opening at the Japanese box office, a personal best for the proven hitmaker. The opening surpasses his previous smashes “Your Name” from 2016 and “Weathering With You” from 2019.   
 
Meanwhile, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which also bowed on Nov. 11, took second-place honors with $3.5 million. The Indian action hit “RRR” held onto third place for the fourth consecutive week since its Oct. 21 opening.  
 
Released in Japan on Nov. 11 by Toho, “Suzume” garnered its total from 1.33 million admissions, placing it far and away the number one title at the weekend box office. Eleven theaters in six major cities even opened their doors at midnight to accommodate the first-day crowds, with Shinkai and main voice cast members, making on-stage introductions.  
 
After three days on release, “Suzume” had beaten the same-period earnings for “Your Name” (which went on to have a $178 million Japanese lifetime total) by 47% and “Weathering With You” by 15%, giving Shinkai the fastest box office start of his career.  
 
Scripted by Shinkai, the story follows the titular teen girl in her desperate quest to close ‘Doors of Disaster’ around Japan, accompanied by a boy who has been magically transformed into a chair.  
 
To win the year’s box office championship, however, “Suzume” must first catch the current No. 1 for 2022, the smash-hit anime “One Piece: Film Red,” which bowed on Aug. 6 and has earned $123 million to date, with Toei distributing. Meanwhile, the year’s top live-action release is “Maverick: Top Gun,” with total earnings of $99 million.