News Writer: Raven
Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s timeless classic My Neighbor Totoro has already earned 173 million yuan in China as of the previous weekend. This total gross now makes it the second-highest grossing Japanese film in China for 2018, ranking below Eiga Doraemon: Nobita no Tarakajima, which was released on June 1, 2018 and earned a total of 209 million yuan. The first Ghibli film to ever receive a large-scale theatrical release in China, Totoro first opened in Chinese cinemas last December 14 and has been running in theaters since then. The said date is also the film’s 30th anniversary since its release in Japan.
During its premiere week, it earned 87 million yuan and closed as the second highest grosser for that week, closely following Hollywood superhero movie Aquaman. This impressive opening week for Totoro is testament to Miyazaki’s following in China. Despite the fact that most have already watched his films on DVD or the internet, people still flocked to cinemas to watch the digitally-restored version of one of his most beloved works.
Chinese distributor SCLA released the digitally-remastered version of the film, with both Chinese-subtitled Japanese audio and a Chinese-dubbed version available to filmgoers. With the success of Totoro in Chinese theaters, SCLA is reportedly negotiating the rights to release other Studio Ghibli films in China.
My Neighbor Totoro is the story of Satsuki and Mei and their interactions with friendly wood spirits in post-war rural Japan. Released in 1988, it is the third film that Hayao Miyazaki directed, after Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Castle in the Sky. Since its release, the film has amassed numerous critical reviews, citations and a worldwide cult following, with its titular character Totoro becoming a cultural icon.
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