Shoplifters breaks Chinese box-office record

Shoplifters has garnered more than 90 million yuan (S$18 million) at the Chinese box office as of Aug 14, 2018.
Shoplifters has garnered more than 90 million yuan (S$18 million) at the Chinese box office as of Aug 14, 2018. PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE

BEIJING •It looks like Shoplifters has stolen the hearts of many Chinese moviegoers as the family drama has become the highest-grossing live-action Japanese film in China.

The award-winning movie has garnered more than 90 million yuan (S$18 million) at the Chinese box office as of Tuesday. It was released in more than 6,000 cinemas on Aug 3 in China.

The movie has also broken the record set last year by Gintama (2017), a Japanese action-comedy film starring Japanese actor Shun Oguri and based on the manga series of the same name.

Shoplifters, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, won the Palme d'Or, the top honour at the Cannes Film Festival, in May this year. It made its Chinese debut at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival in June, becoming the most sought-after among the 500 selected titles for festival release.

Currently, the bittersweet fable about a group of plucky thieves has a score of 8.7 points out of 10 on the popular review site Douban.com.

A stylish film, which taps Kore-eda's favourite theme of family relations, Shoplifters recounts the story of a lower-class family of five residing in Tokyo.

Without enough income, the three generations which live under the same roof survive by shoplifting, but a new addition to the household disrupts their routine.

In an earlier interview with the Chinese media, the 56-year-old director says the film was inspired by his childhood, when most Japanese families lived together, from grandparents to grandchildren.

Nowadays, however, such living arrangements are rarely seen in Japan, he said.

Hailed as one of the best Japanese directors to feature children or teen actors in movies, Kore-eda reveals that he selected Kairi Jyo, 11, from more than 200 candidates and encouraged him to perform as naturally as possible. Kairi plays the elder "brother" Shota Shibata in the movie.

The movie, written by Kore-eda, stars Lily Franky and Kirin Kiki, who have appeared in several of the director's movies, as well as Sakura Ando and Mayu Matsuoka.

Kore-eda has directed other critically acclaimed movies such as Like Father, Like Son (2013) and Our Little Sister (2015).

CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

• Shoplifters is showing in theatres.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2018, with the headline 'Shoplifters breaks Chinese box-office record'. Print Edition | Subscribe