Why Did The First Slam Dunk Get Pulled From Theaters?

The First Slam Dunk was released to rave reviews from critics and fans. So why has the film been pulled from theaters?


  • Anime has recently become a profitable industry in America, with more films being shown in theaters across the US.
  • The First Slam Dunk, a recent anime film, received critical acclaim but struggled to make money at the box office.
  • The film’s lack of financial success can be attributed to factors such as competition from other films, limited marketing, and the franchise’s lack of popularity in America. However, it still performed better than expected and was considered a win for the distributor.



Anime has become a big business in America. While this has been true in Japan for many, many years, only in the past five has the art form brought in enough money to catch the attention of Hollywood. In the past, most anime would be lucky to get a dozen theaters that would play the films; now anime fans can expect to see their favorite anime on thousands of screens across the US, giving them a great chance to see their new favorite film on the big screen.

Despite this, anime as a viable theatrical business is still going through growing pains, as distributors experiment to find out what are the mainstream hits and what are the niche titles. The First Slam Dunk was recently released to a wide audience and critical acclaim, but it has now been mostly pulled from theaters, and fans are scratching their heads trying to figure out why.

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What is Slam Dunk?

Slam Dunk Characters

Slam Dunk is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue. It tells the story of a high school basketball team from Shohoku High School. The main protagonist, Hanamichi Sakuragi, is a delinquent and a leader of a gang who starts playing basketball when a girl he likes professes to love the sport. As the story progresses Sakuragi discovers that he truly loves the game and others start to see his potential as a basketball player.

The manga was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine from 1990 to 1996, with the chapters later collected in 31 tankōbon volumes. The manga became incredibly popular and had a significant impact on the popularity of basketball in Japan. An anime adaptation of “Slam Dunk” was produced by Toei Animation and aired from 1993 to 1996. The anime follows the manga closely but included some additional content and ended before the manga’s conclusion. The series consisted of 101 episodes and four movies before coming to an end. Years after the manga concluded a brand-new movie called The First Slam Dunk was announced, which would be an original story (and the directorial debut) of manga creator Takehiko Inoue that would fill in the background of one of the franchise’s more underutilized characters, Ryota Miyagi.

Who Released The First Slam Dunk in US Theaters?


Despite the franchises lack of popularity in America, the movie was picked up for distribution by GKIDS. GKIDS is an American film distributor based in New York, who specializes in the release of international, animated, and independent films. They have been involved in the distribution of various renowned works (most notably the films from Studio Ghibli and Tom Moore). Considering Slam Dunk never was a big franchise in America, many were surprised that GKIDS would pick up the franchise as opposed to Sentai or Crunchyroll.

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GKIDS saw potential in the film though, and committed to a wide release of the film as well as paying money to commission a brand-new dub. When The First Slam Dunk hit theaters it was praised by critics (many of whom had never seen the anime) as an excellent film, with some claiming it to be one of the best basketball movies ever put to film. You would think that this film would have had a long, health theatrical run. Instead, it was largely gone after two weeks.

Why Did Theaters Pull The Last Slam Dunk?

GKIDS First Slam Dunk Feature

The long and short of it isn’t pretty, it’s just reality: The film didn’t make a lot of money. This may have partially been because the film was release one week after the box office jugger naught that was ‘Barbenheimer’ (the duel release of films Barbie and Oppenheimer for those who may be reading this in the future). It could have suffered due to lack of marketing, or maybe it was because Slam Dunk itself was never huge in America, but ultimately the film made roughly $604k on about 3,400 screens.

For context, that means the movie made an average of $177.64 a screen. That means about 11-12 people were in each screening of The First Slam Dunk. Even if every person buying a ticket also bought popcorn and a soda, it was nowhere near enough money to justify most theaters keeping the movie. Most theaters were shed after the first week with The First Slam Dunk making just a hair above $1 million as of this writing.

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While that may sound like a huge failure, considering everything going against it this was likely a huge win for GKIDS, who managed to make a million dollars on a properly that historically had made pennies on the dollar in America. The First Slam Dunk’s mostly early exit from theaters (there’s still a few bigger complex’s playing the film as of this writing) was nothing personal nor was it because the film itself was problematic: It was purely a business decision.

Slam Dunk the anime series is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

Fuente: successacademy.edu.vn
Categorías: Anime

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