GKIDS, celebrating its 15th anniversary as a producer and distributor of award-winning and artist-driven animation from around the world, has announced that it has acquired the North American distribution rights for The First Slam Dunk from globally acclaimed and industry-leading animation studio Toei Animation.
The hit film opened domestically in Japan on December 3, 2022, and has gone on to break box office records in a number of countries during its current international release. With a current global box office of over $212 million, the film has become the 24th highest grossing film of all time in Japan. Upon the film’s South Korea release, it climbed to #2 at the box office for its opening weekend – becoming, at the time, the most-watched Japanese movie ever in South Korea. Most recently, The First Slam Dunk opened in Mainland China and with $55.2 million reported at the box office on opening weekend, became the biggest opening ever for an imported animated film in the country.
Written and created by Takehiko Inoue, Slam Dunk is a beloved manga which was serialized from 1990-1996. The original manga is one of the best-selling manga series of all time, with over 170 million copies sold globally, and has been adapted to various media and video games, including a hit anime series that ran from 1993-1996. The First Slam Dunk marks the first new feature-length film from the globally cherished franchise in over 28 years, as well as original manga creator Takehiko Inoue’s directorial debut. The film went on to be awarded this year’s Japan Academy Prize for Best Animation of the Year – marking the first nomination and win for Inoue.
GKIDS will release The First Slam Dunk theatrically in the United States and Canada in both its original Japanese language and an all-new English dubbed version in Summer 2023.
The North American distribution deal for theatrical and physical home video rights for the film was negotiated between GKIDS and Toei 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.”
“I want to welcome North American fans – both new and old – to the world of Slam Dunk,” said Toshiyuki Matsui, producer of The First Slam Dunk. “The First Slam Dunk offers the unique excitement and thrills of Slam Dunk that can only be experienced in a movie theatre.”
Original Language: Japanese
Runtime: 124 min
Original Manga “SLAM DUNK” Written and Directed by: Takehiko Inoue
Sequence Director: Naoki Miyahara, Katsuhiko Kitada, Toshio Ōhashi, Yasuhiro Motoda, Humihiko Suganuma, Haruka Kamatani
Animation Character Designer: Takehiko Inoue, Yasuyuki Ebara
CG Director: Daiki Nakazawa
Animation Director: Yasuyuki Ebara
Art Director: Kazuo Ogura
Color Designer: Shiori Furusyo
Compositing Director: Shunsuke Nakamura
Editor: Ryuichi Takita
Sound Director: Koji Kasamatsu
Animation Producer: Kazuhiro Nishikawa
Producer: Toshiyuki Matsui
Production Company: Toei Animation, Dandelion Animation Studio
Japanese Voice Cast: Shugo Nakamura, Jun Kasama, Shinichiro Kamio, Subaru Kimura, Kenta Miyake
Official English Synopsis
Shohoku’s “speedster” and point guard, Ryota Miyagi, always plays with brains and lightning speed, running circles around his opponents while feigning composure. Born and raised in Okinawa, Ryota had a brother who was three years older. Following in the footsteps of his older brother, who was a famous local player from a young age, Ryota also became addicted to basketball.
In his second year of high school, Ryota plays with the Shohoku High School basketball team along with Sakuragi, Rukawa, Akagi, and Mitsui as they take the stage at the Inter-High School National Championship. And now, they are on the brink of challenging the reigning champions, Sannoh Kogyo High School.
Official Movie Website (North America)
Follow The First Slam Dunk on social media with hashtag #SlamDunkMovie.