Released locally as Session – six months later than in other international markets – the movie Whiplash has exceeded expectations and has already more than covered its production budget ($3.3 million) with its takings at the Japanese box office alone. Good reviews and strong word-of-mouth helped attract cinema-goers and increase demand from other theaters to screen it. The film now has more than a thousand reviews on Yahoo Japan and a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. As well as the Oscar and word-of-mouth, endorsements from entertainment celebrities and other famous people — often a big factor in Japan — have helped boost interest in the film.
Our strategy was to have a limited release centered round the new Toho cinema in Shinjuku, the one with the Godzilla head on top of the building, where it would be one of the main screenings and attract a big audience when it bowed.