Japan Box Office: 'Doraemon' Knocks 'American Sniper' From Top Spot

American Sniper Still - H 2014
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

American Sniper Still - H 2014

As the anime film leads the weekend, Disney's 'Big Hero 6' passes $75 million and 7 million admissions in the country.

Japanese anime film Doraemon knocked American Sniper from its perch to take the top weekend box-office spot with a $5.3 million bow for the 36th big-screen installment of the adventures of a cat-type robot and his young human co-star Nobita.  

Doraemon Nobita's Space Heroes reached 557,000 admissions at 365 screens on Saturday and Sunday. Stand by Me Doraemon, the last film in the series, has brought in more than $86 million worldwide, including a record run in Hong Kong, where the character has been hugely popular for decades. It also won the best animation honor at the Japan Academy Awards last month.  

American Sniper added another $1.5 million in second place to take its cumulative total in Japan past $12 million (?1.47 billion) for its three weekends in theaters.

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Solomon's Perjury I: Suspicion, the first half of an adaptation of Miyuki Miyabe's best-selling magnum opus school thriller, opened in third with $995,000 from 311 screens. Directed by Izuru Narushima (Rebirth), the film has been hailed for its use of unknown actors selected through open auditions, alongside established stars such as Hana Kuroki, winner of the best supporting actress award at the Japan Academy Awards.

Big Hero 6 fell two spots to fourth after its Oscar bounce last week but booked another $528,000 on Saturday and Sunday to take its total to $75 million (?8.97 billion) from more than 7 million tickets during its three-month run in theaters. 

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Next weekend will see two Oscar winners open Friday: The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, while Disney will hope to continue its winning run at the Japanese box office with Into the Woods bowing on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Chinese disaster film Aftershock will finally get a release in Japan, four years after it was delayed in the wake of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, which claimed nearly 20,000 lives. The Huayi Brothers Pictures production had been scheduled to open just two weeks after the disasters, which also led to a triple nuclear reactor meltdown, but was pulled by distributor Shochiku.

Aftershock is set in the aftermath of the 1976 Tangshan Earthquake, which killed hundreds of thousands in northeast China. The final death toll remains a matter of dispute.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair