GKIDS has acquired the North American rights to “The First Slam Dunk,” an anime sports film that took the Japanese and Korean box office by storm this past winter, the indie animation distributor announced Monday.
The film follows Ryota Miyagi, a small but agile point guard for Shohoku High School’s basketball team struggling to live up to the legacy of his older brother, Sota. Alongside his teammates, the sophomore star leads his team for a run at the Inter-High National Championship against the defending title holders.
Produced by Toei Animation and based on director Takehiko Inoue’s bestselling 90s manga series, “The First Slam Dunk” has grossed $212 million so far at the global box office. Not only has the film been a success in its home country, it also set a record for the most watched Japanese film in South Korea that was just broken last month by Makoto Shinkai’s “Suzume.” It also received the Japan Academy Prize for Best Animation.
“I am very thankful to our partners at Toei Animation for working together with us on what I consider one of the best sports films ever made,” said David Jesteadt, president of GKIDS. “’The First Slam Dunk’ is thrilling but also deeply emotional, and it has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. We can’t wait to share the film with ‘Slam Dunk’ fans, as well as those who are discovering this work for the first time.”
”We’re thrilled to work with GKIDS to bring Toei Animation’s blockbuster film ‘The First Slam Dunk’ to North America,” said Masayuki Endo, president of Toei Animation Inc. “’The First Slam Dunk’ has been a smash hit in Asia since premiering in Japan last December and we’re excited to see the response from U.S. and Canadian audiences when it premieres this summer.”