Title: The Deer King
Directed By: Masashi Ando, Masayuki MIyaji
Written By: Taku Kishimoto
Release Date: July 13, 2022
Domestic Distributor: Fathom Events
Cast: Japanese Actors
Genre: Adventure Digital Animation
Box Office Information
- Budget: ?
- Financed by: Japan
- Domestic Box Office Gross: $286,063
Dark and flashy, The Deer King examines the consequences of war and of slavery. Set in a fairy tale land of brutal masters, abused slaves, and mythical creatures and the mages that control them or try to capture them, the movie follows two slaves who break free of the system. Van and Yuna survive a massacre in the mine where they were enslaved, and seek to find a place where they can live in peace and freedom, away from the warring factions that have defaced the land with bloodshed. Do they succeed? Of course not. But we are asked to believe in their dreams before they are obliterated. Unfortunately, the characters are just not compelling enough to engage our empathy. You won’t be weeping for their lost paradise when you come out of this movie – although you might shed a tear for the lost price of your movie ticket.
The Japanese Perspective
This Japanese anime film, like many others of its kind, poses some problems for Western audiences. The use of linear narrative and disciplined flashbacks is often ignored for the sake of powerful and engaging visual graphics. This is both a strength and a weakness of most cinematic anime. It’s gorgeous to look at, but impossible to comprehend. In the same way that a display of postmodern art at a museum is both fascinating for its raw beauty and frustrating for its ambiguity of meaning.
The idea that the word “anime” has French roots is a widely held one.
It’s actually a loanword of the Japanese word animeshon’s short form (), which is a loanword from English.
An obvious portmanteau of Japan and animation, “Japanimation,” is a more descriptive term for anime that is frequently used in older sources.
With the rise of the first generation of Occidental Otaku in the 1990s, this terminology became out of date in the West.
Both manga (Japanese comic books and graphic novels) and anime have distinctive visual styles that they both borrow from the works of earlier writers and artists like Osamu Tezuka, considered the originator of modern Japanese manga and anime, and Junichi Nakahara, a godfather of manga art.
The origins of the “large eyes” frequently seen in anime continues to be discussed, and not just in fanzines but at actual ivy league universities. Anime is not only big business, but it is big art.
According to some sources, large eyes was created by Osamu Tezuka, who is credited with having been greatly influenced by American animators like Walt Disney and Betty Boop (one of Tezuka’s favorite characters).
On the other hand, manga artist Junichi Nakahara was one of the first to use the “large eyes” appearance when he created illustrations for well-known female Shoujo magazines that resembled modern manga/anime art, including the “large eyes.”
By the early 1930s, popular Kamishibai (paper theater) shows with well-known characters like Jungle Boy also featured a similar aesthetic.
The distinct aesthetic that first appeared in 1920s Shoujo magazines changed over time to become the recognizable aesthetic that has characterized manga and anime for many years.
The expressionist culture of Japan, which emphasizes the eyes as the primary tool for interpreting the thoughts of others, undoubtedly had a significant impact on the dewey eyed look.
But all this artsy-fartsy talk butters no turnips. The box office continues to act as a depressant on the ambitions of Japanese artists who want to push anime to further prismatic heights. The answer probably will come from subsidies from the Japanese government, not American ticket sales.
Box Office Numbers
With a production budget unannounced, a worldwide box office percent is unavailable for the production budget, The Deer King took $286,063 domestically and grossed $11,051 overseas at the box office.
The Deer King played to 120 theaters/683 max. theaters and took $251,169 (87.8%of total gross) in its opening weekend.
The film played to a total of 120 theaters domestically and took a domestic share of some 96.3%.
Having ranked 8th in its opening weekend, The Deer King dropped off ranks in the second weekend – running for a total of 0.2 weeks, with an average weekend domestic gross of $160 per theater based on a 0.2 weeks average run per theater.
The Deer King was released to a total of 4 countries internationally, with the main markets being Spain with a lifetime gross of $11,051, Italy, with Wide release, and the United Kingdom, with limited release. No gross sales recorded in Italy or the United Kingdom.