An Anime Took Down ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs And Shaw’ At Japan’s Box Office

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BY August 14, 2019

The Anime movie Weathering You defeated the Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs And Shaw at the Japanese Box Office.

Weathering With You (Tenki no Ko) is the follow-up film to the critically acclaimed Your Name. The film had a much bigger box office debut than Your Name. However, saw a bigger drop off in its subsequent weekends. Weathering With You has been in theatres since July 16, but still won over Hobbs And Shaw in its opening weekend. Weathering With You’s English release is aimed to be around 2020.

The Anime That Took Down The Rock And Jason Statham

"Poster
Image via Toho

Weathering With You sounds like a magical rom-com. The movie’s story is about a young man who runs away from home to the big city. The boy eventually becomes distressed by life in there. But everything changes when he meets a girl who has unusual influence over the weather, and him as well.

Director Makoto Shinkai’s first film, Your Name is one of the most commercially successful Anime films of all time. We even included the movie in our Anime guide of must-watch Anime movies.

So it’s absolutely no surprise that his follow-up is getting just as much attention and receiving just as many accolades. Beating out one of the biggest Hollywood franchises’ in its opening weekend in Japan is a big achievement! Especially given how important international markets currently are to the success of many Hollywood franchises.

The Asian Market Is Very Important To Hollywood

In the last few years, Asia has become a massive market for Hollywood. Films that usually don’t do well domestically, are considered to be successes based on their worldwide Box Office results. Such was the case with World Of Warcraft. Other films that don’t meet the requirements of a sequel are greenlit, based on their international performances, such as Pacific Rim 2.

Marvel Studios, one of the largest production companies in Hollywood, heavily market their superhero flicks to India. So much so that they even included the country as part of their massive promotional tours. A marketing leg of Avengers: Endgame promotions saw director Joe Russo take a trip down to India. Russo marketed the film heavily with a huge local press circuit. Marvel Studios films also partner with major Indian movie stars for the dubs of their films into their many languages.

Joe Russo Interview in India.
Image via Film Companion

Hollywood films even catered directly to Asian audiences in the last few years through the movies themselves. The entire plot of Ridley Scott’s The Martian relied on the intervention of the Chinese government in the movie to save the day. We won’t even discuss the Matt Damon starring Chinese co-production, The Great Wall, that that featured alien monsters in ancient China.  Many Hollywood films have even produced in collaboration with Chinese studios, such as the very commercially successful, The Meg.

And for years now, Hollywood movies cast very well known Chinese actors in their franchise films to make the movies more appealing to Chinese audiences. It’s clear that China, India and other international markets are incredibly important for the sustenance and expansion of Hollywood beyond its own borders.

Why Hobbs And Shaw Losing To An Anime In Japan Matters

Despite Hollywood’s inroads into China and India, its relationship with Japan is a bit rocky. At least in terms of their representation in Hollywood movies. Hollywood movies are notorious for whitewashing films that are based on Japanese source material. The biggest and most successful of which happen to be Anime.

Many popular and classic live-action adaptations of Japanese Anime into Hollywood films have been botched by casting Caucasian actors in the lead role. The list of movies guilty of this goes as far back as 2008 with Speed Racer. And they continue with major Anime adaptations in Dragonball: Evolution, Avatar: The Last Airbender and the most recent, Ghost In The Shell. Almost every one of these movies failed commercially and critically.

An image from 'Ghost In The Shell'.
Image via Deamworks Pictures

So now that a hugely popular Japanese Anime film managed to beat a movie that is a spin-off of a multi-billion dollar Hollywood franchise, maybe things will change.

Can Anime Be Finally Respected By Hollywood?

It’s undeniable that we live in an era of representation. The largest examples of this can be seen in the recent commercial blockbusters such as Black Panther, Wonder Woman, Crazy Rich Asians, and Get Out. Given this, it’s disheartening to see Hollywood not treating a valuable commodity like Anime, which is incredibly popular in North America and the rest of the world, as much as Japan, with the respect that it’s due.

Hobbs And Shaw’s poor box office performance in Japan could possibly be what makes Hollywood take notice of their treatment of Japanese content and audiences. Maybe this will push the movers and decision-makers of the industry to take a hard look at similar losses in Japan, and finally, adapt the extremely rich world of Anime content from Japan with the respect that it deserves.

Do you think Weathering With You’s win over Hobbs And Shaw will make a difference in Hollywood? Let us know in the comments below.

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Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

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