“My Neighbor Totoro,” currently being shown in 6,000 cinemas across the country, made more than 93.6 million yuan ($13.5 million) by the end of Sunday, according to South China Morning Post. It even made more impact than “The Grinch,” “Searching,” “Running to the Spring,” and “Padman” despite being 30 years older than those movies.
“I have waited for 30 years for this. I grew up with Miyazaki’s films including Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Porco Rosso. My Neighbor Totoro is my favourite of all his films. I love its themes about childhood innocence and unlimited child imagination,” one internet user wrote online.
The decision probably came right after the recent, continuous success of Japanese animation films in the Chinese box office, particularly “Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer” which was released in November 2018 and earned 120 million yuan ($17.3 million), SCMP reported.
Prior to this, the international hit movie “Your Name” also raked in 576 million yuan ($83.4 million) in ticket sales when it was released in Chinese theaters in 2016.
Additionally, Asian film specialist Kevin Ma thinks that China is pivoting to Japan for a closer diplomatic relationship, especially now, with the growing tension between the Middle Kingdom and the United States.
“Right now, with China and America in a trade war, China is looking for Japan to be a closer diplomatic partner so it makes sense that relations are warming,” he said, via Inkstonenews. “The result of that is probably more Japanese films getting released.”