Anime Is Coming To Save Movie Theaters

By Charlene Badasie | Published

anime movies

Anime movies were an unexpected topic of conversation at CinemaCon 2024. Senior Vice President of Global Commerce at Crunchyroll Mitchell Berger used his platform at the event to tell local and regional exhibitors how the genre could give theaters a much-needed boost. While most have little interest in Japanese animation, they are always searching for ways to increase revenue.

Crunchyroll Can Fill A Theater

The first step in Berger’s plan was to remind theater owners of Crunchyroll’s existing presence in the market with the Demon Slayer and Dragon Ball franchises. However, the most important part of the anime movie pitch was showcasing new content. Attendees were treated to 10 minutes of the highly anticipated Spy x Family Code: White, promising a thrilling experience for anime fans.

“Crunchyroll can fill a theater. Whether on a Tuesday afternoon, a Thursday night, or even an opening-day Friday,” Berger said, highlighting the power of anime shows and movies. “Crunchyroll can build the hype, too. We talk to anime fans every single day. We don’t have to fire up our fanbase for a theatrical run. They’re already fired up.”

Certain Demographics May Have Trouble Embracing The Idea

anime movies

For many in the predominantly older white male demographic of the CinemaCon audience, anime might have been a foreign concept. As such, Berger used his presentation to educate them about the essence and cultural significance of anime shows and movies. While theater owners responded with polite applause, enthusiastic cheers erupted from others present at the event.

Speaking to the press after the event, Berger seemed confident in his presentation. “We’ve had a couple of titles that have done well, so I think there’s an understanding that this type of thing works at the box office,” he said. “What I love about theater owners and this business is we all, to some level or another, understand fan culture. It’s what we’ve built this on. I think anime fan culture is a whole different level.”

Something For Everyone

anime movies

Berger also highlighted the $37 billion projection for the anime industry by 2025, with Crunchyroll poised to claim a large share of that revenue. Despite being primarily a streaming platform, Crunchyroll recognized the importance of anime movies receiving theatrical releases as a way to further engage fans and expand the genre’s reach.

The Crunchyroll VP emphasized that anime has a dedicated fanbase that goes beyond demographics and doesn’t “age out.” Rather than trying to appeal to everyone, Crunchyroll aims to be everything for someone. That way, the genre can cater to various tastes within the anime community. Berger even revealed new acquisitions for North America.

Crunchyroll Isn’t Slowing Down

This includes the popular Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle and Blue Lock the Movie – Episode Nagi. These acquisitions, along with future adaptations like Overlord: The Sacred Kingdom, promise to further expand Crunchyroll’s influence in the anime market. With the growing popularity of anime, the genre definitely has the potential to breathe new life into movie theaters.

Recent Theatrical Anime Hits

In recent years, several anime movies have gained attention and critical acclaim. Released in 2022, Bubble is a feel-good anime with a complex story. Directed by Tetsuro Araki and from a script by Gen Urobuchi, the film debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival. A global release on Netflix followed it before being released in Japanese theaters.

Another hit in the realm of anime movies is Josee, the Tiger and the Fish. Billed as a romantic drama, the film was released in 2020. It has been praised for its beautiful animation and heartwarming story. Based on the short story of the same name by Seiko Tanabe, it features the voice talents of Taishi Nakagawa and Kaya Kiyohara.

Other anime movies worth checking out are the psychological thriller Paprika, the classic Ghibli film Porco Rosso, and the dark fantasy Madoka Magica.

Source: Indie Wire