• Kyodo News


The Oscar-winning film “Okuribito” (“Departures”) became the top box-office performer in Japan for the first time since its premiere last fall, raking in ¥320 million last weekend, according to its distributor.

Shochiku Co. estimates that some 300,000 people saw the movie in cinemas nationwide Saturday and Sunday, the first weekend since it won the Oscar for best foreign-language film.

It is quite rare for a film to top the box-office rankings five months after its release, Shochiku said, adding that “Okuribito” has brought in a total of more than ¥3.8 billion in Japan.

The demand for the movie is so big that the company has run out of prints and has had difficulty meeting the surge in orders from cinemas both in Japan and aboard, a Shochiku representative said.

Amuse Soft Entertainment Inc., the rights holder for DVD sales for “Okuribito,” said it received 100,000 orders within a week of its Oscar success, roughly the same amount it had for a whole month following its release announcement in late January.

Meanwhile, an additional 150,000 copies of “Nokanfu Nikki” (“Coffinman: the Journal of a Buddhist Mortician”), the book by Shinmon Aoki that inspired the film, have been reprinted since the film’s Oscar triumph, according to its publisher, Bungeishunju Ltd.

DVD copies of “Tsumiki no Ie” (“The House of Small Cubes”), which claimed the Oscar for best animated short, have also almost run out of stock.

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