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'The Wolverine' Opens at No. 3 at Japanese Box Office, Miyazaki Finally Falls From No. 1

The Wolverine Hugh Jackman still - H 2013
Ben Rothstein/Twentieth Century Fox
"The Wolverine"

The big-screen version of a TV drama tops the weekend chart, with Ken Watanabe-starring "Unforgiven" remake bowing at No. 4.

TOKYO – After two months atop the Japanese box office, Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises has been knocked from the No. 1 spot by Ataru: The First Love & The Last Kill, the big-screen version of a hit TV drama from Tokyo Broadcasting Systems (TBS).

The Wind Rises became the first Japanese movie to break the ¥10 billion ($101 million) barrier since Miyazaki's own Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea in 2008, grossing $107 million so far.

Ataru, with Masahiro Nakai reprising the title role from the TV drama about an autistic savant who helps the police solve cases, opened at No. 1 with $3.6 million (¥355 million) over the weekend on 304 screens. Several scenes of the movie, including the finale, were shot in Los Angeles and Las Vegas in June this year. Directed by Hisashi Kimura, who helmed episodes from the TV series, Ataru also stars Chiaki Kuriyama (Kill Bill) and Kazuki Kitamura.

ANALYSIS: Retiring Miyazaki Enters Wide-Open Animation Oscar Race

Despite opening on more than twice as many screens (655) as Ataru, its strong Japan connections, heavy promotion and the local popularity of Hugh Jackman, The Wolverine -- released here as Wolverine: Samurai -- could manage only a $1.86 million weekend opening, leaving it in third place, behind Miyazaki.  

Unforgiven (Yurusarezaru Mono), the largely faithful remake of Clint Eastwood's multiple Oscar winner set in Hokkaido in northern Japan, opened in fourth with $1.45 million from 327 screens.

Elsewhere, Man of Steel dropped to sixth on its third weekend in theaters, while Captain Harlock, the 3D CGI reimagining of Leiji Matsumoto's classic sci-fi manga and anime, fell to seventh after bowing last weekend at No. 2.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair