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Cannes Winner ‘Shoplifters’ Becomes Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Biggest Box-Office Hit

The film has taken in nearly $30 million in Japan, topping the director’s ‘Like Father, Like Son’, which also picked up a prize at the Cannes film festival.

Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters (Manbiki Kazoku) has become Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s biggest domestic box-office hit, pulling in $29.2 million (¥3.2 billion) from 2.65 million admissions as of Wednesday.

The film about a dysfunctional family of petty criminals has surpassed the box-office total of ¥3.18 billion from 2.73 million admissions that the director’s Like Father, Like Son (Soshite Chichi ni Naru) recorded after it won the jury prize at Cannes in 2013. Like Father, Like Son was picked up for a remake by DreamWorks Studios after Steven Spielberg, head of the jury that year, took a liking to the film. The remake has yet to materialize.

Shoplifters held the number one box-office spot during its first three weeks of release in Japan, deposed last weekend by Solo: A Star Wars Story. It also reached the billion yen ($9 million) mark faster than any Japanese live-action film this year. Films tend to have longer runs at the Japanese box office than in other major markets, and Shoplifters looks set to keep adding to its total.

The film examines poverty and the underclass in Japan, a topic largely ignored by the mainstream entertainment industry. Conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is apparently not among the growing legion of Shoplifters fans. Abe didn’t issue any congratulatory message to Kore-eda for becoming the first Japanese Palme d’Or winner since Shohei Imamura’s The Eel in 1997.


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