'Like Father, Like Son' Opens at No. 1 in Japan

Hirokazu Kore-eda
Hirokazu Kore-eda
 

TOKYO – Like Father, Like Son (Soshite Chichi ni Naru) topped the weekend box office in Japan, pulling in $3.2 million (318 million yen) from 309 screens, putting it on course to be director Hirokazu Kore-eda's biggest commercial success.

The winner of the Cannes 2013 jury prize, the film stars Masaharu Fukuyama as the father of a 6-year-old boy he discovers was accidentally switched with another child at birth. DreamWorks on Monday picked up remake rights to the movie, which Cannes jury president Steven Spielberg said he was "impressed by."

STORY: DreamWorks to Remake Japanese Cannes Jury Prize Winner 'Like Father, Like Son'

Kore-eda has long been a favorite of the international festival circuit, particularly in Europe, but has struggled to attract audiences at home.

"I don't really mind if people don’t know my name, but if my films did better at the box office in Japan it would be easier to get them made. The balance is a bit off between how well my films do abroad and at home," he told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview before Cannes this year.

The combination of rock star-turned-actor Fukuyama in the lead role, the award at Cannes and news of the U.S. remake may well help the director's wish come true this time around.

Bowing at No. 2 on the weekend charts was local comedy The Apology King (Shazai no Osama), starring Sadao Abe as a professional teacher in the very Japanese art of saying sorry. Nobuo Mizata's irreverent farce, also featuring Yutaka Takenouchi, took $2.7 million from 312 screens.

Despicable Me 2 fell to third place after opening at No. 1 last weekend.

Q&A: Hirokazu Kore-eda on His Palme d'Or Contender

Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises dropped two spots to fifth place in its 11th week on the charts, while Elysium fell to sixth in its second week in theaters.

The Wolverine and a local remake of Unforgiven starring Ken Watanabe continued their less-than-stellar runs at the Japanese box office, falling to the eighth and 10th spots, respectively, after three weeks in release.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

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