The First Slam Dunk Movie Wins #1 Spot Two Weeks in a Row

The Shohoku High School basketball team just can’t be beat.

Image Credit: Toei Animation

For the second weekend in a row, The First Slam Dunk movie tops the charts in Japan as the most-watched movie in theaters. This should come as no surprise given that Takehiko Inoue’s (井上 雄彦) Slam Dunk (1990) is one of the most popular manga series of all time. News of this movie was first mentioned back in 2021 which left fans eager with hype in anticipation for its release.

The First Slam Dunk debuted last weekend on December 3rd, 2022. It’s both written and directed by Takehiko Inoue, so those familiar with the story can be assured it’s still in the hands of the original creator. This movie, like the anime adaptation, was produced and distributed by Toei Animation. According to Kobis, The First Slam Dunk earned  Ұ1,295,808,780 JPY (or $9,434,870.55 USD) in its opening weekend and by the second weekend had reached Ұ3,035,492,950 JPY ($22,108,102.25 USD).

For those new to the series, Slam Dunk was first released in Shueisha’s Shounen Jump in October of 1990. It lasted until 1996 and was accompanied by a successful anime adaptation. The story follows Hanamichi Sakuragi (桜木 花道), a troublemaking protagonist and gang leader, who decides to join the high school basketball team to impress his childhood crush. This classic manga is recognized today as the 7th best-selling manga ever.

The new movie, from what we can tell, follows the same plot as the manga albeit summarized for the shortened runtime. We’ve got our protagonist Hanamachi Sakuragi who joins the Shohoku High School basketball team in an effort to win the affection of Haruko Akagi (赤木 晴子). One thing that stands out about this adaptation is the choice to use cel-shaded CG animation. The entire movie is rendered with 3D characters which feature prominent lines to resemble more traditional 2D animation.

If you haven’t seen Slam Dunk before, now is a great time to give it a watch and get pumped for the new movie. As of writing, no confirmation date has been specified for international debut but you can check out the trailer right now over at Twitter. The anime is available to stream at Crunchyroll. While you’re at it, you can pick up a copy of the first manga over at Amazon.

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