Japanese media news site Bunka Tsūshin published an article earlier this month detailing Toei’s goals and expectations for the Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods film, set to hit Japanese theaters on 30 March 2013. The article, which has been translated in its entirety below, lays out the film’s initial development, its official public announcement via the Shōnen Jump website, its established promotional campaign, and the general strategy to incorporate three generations of Dragon Ball fans.
Dragon Ball’s Goal is ¥3 Billion, Says Publicity Producer
06 March 2013
This year, Toei[‘s lineup] is once again crowded with powerful theatrical animation. Even among that lineup, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (a joint production with 20th Century Fox), which opens on 30 March (Sat.), is attracting particular attention. It has been 17 years since the last theatrical release for the Dragon Ball Z anime; by bringing in fans both old and new, its aim is a box-office gross of 3 billion yen.
The production of a new work had been previously considered, but it was not until the beginning of last year that it was officially set in motion. Building upon the success reaped in recent years by works such as One Piece with “the original creator participating in the production”, Akira Toriyama participated in creating the story for the first time. Thanks specifically to the involvement of the creator himself, it was possible to realize a structure deeply linked to the story of the original work. The advertising campaign began last July: aligned with [the beginning of] summer vacation, it was announced on the official Shōnen Jump website. Says publicity producer Masaru Tsuchiya, “The response was big. There was such a flood of accesses from overseas that we rushed to put up an English-translated version. At that point in time, we brought out Toriyama-san’s comment, so we were able to appeal to the fans that they would be seeing ‘the real Dragon Ball’.”
Males ages 20 to 40 who know the original work are seen as the focus of the excitement, but the story’s content [is something that] boys in the higher grades of primary school can also enjoy. Toei Animation’s basic stance is to produce animation aimed at children, and they will follow through on that this time, as well. The serialization of the original work ended in 1995, but even now, it boasts immense popularity among children, centered around an arcade card game; the intent this time is to bring in three generations of paying customers, including the [aforementioned] generation below the parents and children who went to the theater over a decade ago. “Children now have gotten to know Dragon Ball through games, so there is a tendency to be familiar with only the battle aspect. But the original work is firmly packed with comedy, friendship, and drama, and the movie has been finished up to get those charms across,” says Tsuchiya.
Prior to the opening, various tie-ins are set. Major items include a joint campaign between the three companies Lawson, Aeon, and Mini Stop (stamp rally, etc.), Kentucky Fried Chicken, Geo, Ace Cook, Kirin Beverage, and HMV. In addition, as a tactic to increase the desire to see the movie in theaters, limited edition game-cards and QR codes will be distributed to attendees.
The work was completed on 18 February, and is now undergoing preview-screenings for the mass media. Reviews from fans of the original comic are largely favorable as “nostalgic”, and the mix of CG and hand-drawn animation is said to be receiving high marks. After the opening on 30 March, a long [theatrical] run of six weeks is planned, promoting it at the box-office until Golden Week.
So it seems Toei has set themselves with the lofty goal of at least 3 billion yen, presumably over the six week theatrical run. In comparison, the recent film One Piece Film Z grossed just over 3 billion yen in only its first 10 days. Although to be fair, it did also set the record as the highest grossing Toei film of all time.
While there’s plenty of other great tidbits to pull from this article, fans around the world should specifically take note of just how responsive Toei was to the overwhelming international reaction. Although there’s still been no official announcement for international screenings or releases, Toei continues to stress that they are very interested in reaching these markets. So at the very least, it appears to only be a matter of time at this point.