Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Japanese audiences flood movie theatres to see "Departures (Okuribito)"

by Chris MaGee

With the surprise win for Best Foreign Language Film at the 81st Annual Academy Awards having taken place only a few hours before eager Japanese moviegoers flocked to theatres on Tuesday morning to see the first Japanese film in over five decades to take home an Oscar in that category. one of these theatres was the Marunouchi Piccadilly theatre in Tokyo. According to a reports posted at Japan Today and Kyodo News over 1,000 people lined up for the theatre's first showing of Shochiku's and Yojiro Takita's drama at 10:45 a.m. Tokyo time. The 540-person capacity theatre was soon sold out forcing people to be turned away or to wait for the next show. The manager of the theatre was obviously surprised by the rush and estimated the turn out was about five times more than a regular Tuesday morning.

The domestic and international success that "Departures" had enjoyed prior to the win at the Academy Awards had already translated into the film bringing in ¥3.4 billion ($43.7 million CAD) at the Japanese box office, making it the 8th highest grossing domestic film in Japan in 2008. With this new wave of popularity who knows how much more that number will increase.

Thanks to Kyodo News for the above photo of the rush on the theatre.

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