Shin Ultraman (2022)
Shin Ultraman is a 2022 Japanese superhero kaiju film directed by Shinji Higuchi and written, co-produced, and co-edited by Hideaki Anno. A reimagining of Ultraman, the film is a co-production between Toho Studios and Cine Bazar, and presented by Tsuburaya Productions, Toho Co., Ltd., and Khara, Inc. It is the 37th film in the Ultraman franchise, and the second reboot of a tokusatsu series to be adapted by Anno and Higuchi, after Shin Godzilla, with Shin Kamen Rider to follow in 2023. The film stars Takumi Saitoh, Masami Nagasawa, Daiki Arioka, Akari Hayami, Tetsushi Tanaka, and Hidetoshi Nishijima, with Anno and Bin Furuya as Ultraman. In the film, an extraterrestrial accidentally kills a man while battling a kaiju and takes on his appearance and place at the S-Class Species Suppression Protocol to protect Earth from further threats.
In the summer of 2017, Anno was tasked with writing a proposal for a trilogy of Ultraman productions by Takayuki Tsukagoshi, the future chairman of Tsuburaya Productions. A year after completing the plan for the trilogy on January 17, 2018, Anno wrote the first draft of Shin Ultraman's screenplay on February 5, 2019. However, his participation in the film had to be deferred until the completion of Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time. Tsuburaya Productions officially announced the film had begun production on August 1, 2019. Principal photography took place during fall 2019 in Ibaraki Prefecture, Hiratsuka and Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture, Kōfu and Minobu in Yamanashi Prefecture, and Ichihara in Chiba Prefecture, and wrapped in November. Post-production was decelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in editing taking roughly two-and-a-half years.
After being delayed from an early summer 2021 release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shin Ultraman was theatrically released in Japan on May 13, 2022, to mixed reviews. The film has grossed $33.8 million worldwide and was the sixth highest-grossing Japanese film of 2022 and became the most commercially successful Ultraman film. Tsuburaya Productions launched Shin Ultra Fight, a spin-off web miniseries featuring stock footage from the film as well as entirely new footage on May 14, 2022. Shin Ultraman premiered in the United States at the 21st New York Asian Film Festival on July 23, 2022, and will be released to theaters nationwide on January 11 and 12, 2023. The film has received positive reviews from critics internationally, with praise for its ambition, direction, characters, editing, cinematography, visual effects, musical score, and action sequences, but criticism towards its structure and themes.
In order to prevent the kaiju's radioactivity from causing harm, Ultraman kills it and flies off with its radioactive corpse. Shortly after the SSSP return to Tokyo, Alien Zarab reveals himself, claiming to be friendly. However, after meeting the country's prime minister, Zarab kidnaps Kaminaga and impersonates Ultraman to ruin his reputation. Videos of Kaminaga's transformation into Ultraman surface online, revealing his secret identity. Asami then finds Kaminaga's "Beta Capsule" device, which allows him to transform into Ultraman, ascertaining his true identity. Asami frees Kaminaga from Zarab but is captured by Zarab herself. Kaminaga transforms into Ultraman, saving Asami, exposing Zarab's disguise, and cutting the alien in two with the "Ultra Slash".
In order to demonstrate to humanity that they can become gigantic like Ultraman, Asami is kidnapped and transformed into a mind-controlled giant by Alien Mefilas. Mefilas turns her back to her original size, demonstrating good faith, and presents the SSSP with a Beta Box. Mefilas meets Ultraman to discuss symbiosis, but the latter declines after learning that Mefilas' machine can alter humanity's DNA, turning them into monsters; he also reveals to Ultraman that the government signed him up for affiliation, mocking his concern for humanity.
The SSSP assemble in a factory and decide to take Mefilas' Beta Box. Ultraman uses Asami's scent, due to her gigantification earlier, to track Mefilas' energy signature. He finds Mefilas at a meeting with government officials, and snatches his Beta Box, throwing it into the SSSP's aircraft. An angry Mefilas transforms into his true form to combat Ultraman. After noticing Ultraman's superior, Zōffy, observing his battle with Ultraman, Mefilas takes his Beta Box and leaves Earth.
Ultraman is teleported to the forest where Kaminaga's body is located. Zōffy tells him he must be punished for sharing his life force with a human because such an act is forbidden under the law of his home planet, the Star of Light. Zōffy, believing that humanity would pose a threat if they could evolve into giants, employs the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, Zetton, to eradicate them. Kaminaga leaves behind data for the SSSP on how to destroy Zetton in case he doesn't survive.
Ultraman is defeated by Zetton's artillery, after being hit by a fireball which sends him plummeting to Earth. Because Zetton used powerful attacks to counter Ultraman, it overheats and must cool down before recharging, giving the SSSP time to study the information left behind by Kaminaga. Later, they find Kaminaga unconscious and nursed him back to health. SSSP physicist Akihisa Taki and the "greatest minds in the world" determine for Ultraman to defeat Zetton, he must activate his Beta Capsule while in a transformed state. Thus, Kaminaga transforms into Ultraman one last time, flying into space as Zetton resumes its attack. He activates his Beta Capsule, creating a black hole that engulfs both him and Zetton. Zōffy rescues Ultraman, insisting that he must return to the Star of Light with him. Ultraman, on the other hand, wishes to stay on Earth and protect it. Zōffy refuses to compromise, thus Ultraman decides to sacrifice himself to resurrect Kaminaga. Zōffy questions Ultraman's decision to sacrifice himself to save an inferior race, but after witnessing their teamwork to defeat Zetton, he is forced to admire their tenacity in the face of death.
The SSSP greets Kaminaga as he opens his eyes, having received a second chance at life.
Development and writing
On December 28, 2013, nine years prior to Shin Ultraman's release, Hideaki Anno completed the draft for a reboot of the Ultraman franchise entitled Return of Ultraman Plot Memo (帰ってきたウルトラマンプロットメモ, Kaettekita Urutoraman Purotto Memo) and submitted it to Tsuburaya Productions on March 19 of the following year. Anno later reflected, "I wrote [the script] to some friends and their reactions were positive ... but at the time I was not able to finalize the content of the project in a way that satisfied me, so it was abandoned." A life-long Ultraman fan, Anno had made his directorial debut with his own fan film of Return of Ultraman for Daicon Film when he was a film student at Osaka University of Arts.
In the summer of 2017, Takayuki Tsukagoshi —who would later be appointed chairman of Tsuburaya Productions on November 16, 2017, after Hidetoshi Yamamoto, the chairman of Fields Corporation, failed to organize production— commissioned Anno to direct an Ultraman production and its two sequels, set to be released in 2020. A few months later, Anno submitted a recreation of Return of Ultraman Plot Memo, to Tsukagoshi. On January 17, 2018, Anno finished the proposal for the trilogy of Ultraman productions in which he wrote:
"Our goal is to create a world of Ultraman that is not for children, but for the generation that watched Ultraman back then, and that they want to watch now that they are adults. We aim to create entertainment for adults that is consistent with the modern age, a coexistence of dreams and reality that can be depicted only with special effects images. To achieve this goal, we will draw an interesting work that emphasizes quality and sensitivity (even in terms of reality), glistening with the theme of invasion rather than a catastrophe."
A first draft of the script for the film was completed by Anno on February 5, 2019, however, his involvement in the film was put on hold for another year while he worked on Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time. In Shin Ultraman Design Works, Anno stated that he wrote the script with the intention that the film would be connected to his previous tokusatsu film, Shin Godzilla: "The overall worldview of the film may be somewhat connected to that of Shin Godzilla". However, he noted that "copyright management", obviated the film from being accredited as a sequel to Shin Godzilla and made it "hard to make a clear connection". Nevertheless, Anno still made some clear connections to its predecessor; the katakana for Shin being used film's title, Shin Godzilla's logo being displayed onscreen in the title sequence, Yutaka Takenouchi returning to portray a government official, and the subtitle "Giant Unidentified Lifeform" used to refer to the kaiju.
Higuchi said that the crew "immediately ran into a practical problem" during development, because the film "didn't have as big a budget as those American MonsterVerse films." Thus, they "couldn't really destroy the world like they did" and instead "tried to compensate by coming up with a uniquely appealing screenplay and really interesting characters."
The project was unofficially announced by Nikkan Taishu on March 6, 2019, followed by an official announcement by Tsuburaya Productions on August 1, 2019, with the latter revealing Higuchi as the director and Anno as the screenwriter. Masami Nagasawa, Hidetoshi Nishijima and Takumi Saitoh were named to star in the film. The film would be co-produced between Toho Pictures and Cine Bazar and presented by Tsuburaya, Toho and Khara, with an aim for a 2021 release. Higuchi commented, "A baton has been entrusted to me that has been shining ever since I was a small child. I will solemnly strive to fulfill my responsibility to pass on that heavy, radiant baton created by my seniors." The rest of the supporting cast members were announced in September of that same year.
Ultraman, the titular hero of the film, had his design unveiled at the 2019 Tsuburaya Convention. The concept is based on the 1983 oil painting "Incarnation of Truth, Justice, and Beauty" (真実と正義と美の化身, Shinjitsu to Seigi to Bi no Keshin) by the late Tohl Narita. The first concept art was made by Hideaki Anno on October 3, 2018, under the likeness of Bin Furuya, the hero's original suit actor in the 1966 series. This redesign of the original hero was based on Anno's desire to revisit Tohl Narita's original design, going as far as to seek permission from Narita's son, Kairi. The design in question has the mask modeled after Akira Sasaki, the body frame of Furuya, and eliminating elements such as the three-minute warning light called the "Color Timer", and the back fin and peepholes that were part of the actor's costume. Furuya returned to portray the character with Anno via motion capture. Director Higuchi stated, "Without Furuya's physical features, such as his tall stature, long chin and arms, and large palms, it wouldn't have been possible to reproduce Ultraman's silhouette, appearance, behavior, etc. even with the latest technology available today." Likewise, Anno had experienced playing the titular hero in Daicon Film's Return of Ultraman.
"Ultraman is ... bizarre when you think about it ... He is dressed in a silvery, slimy thing that I don't know what it is, and although he looks like a human being, he is something other than a human being. I think Mr. Narita's design, which makes him look cool, is really amazing. For this project, we went through a series of adjustments to realistically reproduce the coexistence of Ultraman's metallic and biological aspects in CG."
The crew struggled to reproduce Ultraman's silver skin color virtually. Higuchi explained in an interview, "Ultraman can't be sprayed with silver paint like in the old days. But if you use mirror-like silver and seriously calculate and depict the rays of light, there would be weird streaks on his arms and face... and his arms and face would look like mirrors that would be reflecting in each other." VFX supervisor Atsuki Satō added "when it comes to color, there are things you can't understand until you actually place the object on the stage, such as the reflection of the silver color on the body and its glittering effect. The hardest part was finding the right balance between reality and image."
Since the beginning of production, Anno and Higuchi had intended to utilize the 3DCG model of Godzilla from their 2016 film Shin Godzilla to depict the kaiju Gomess, who first appeared in episode 1 of Tsuburaya Productions' 1966 TV series Ultra Q. Anno stated that "since Toho was a member of the [Shin Ultraman] production committee we [were allowed to use] the original Godzilla model for Gomess." The concept art for Gomess was also customized from the original concept art for Godzilla's fourth form in Shin Godzilla. Similarly, the digital set for Tokyo Station, where the second giant unidentified lifeform dubbed the "Mamouth Flower" appeared, was reused from Shin Godzilla in order to reduce the film's budget.
The third giant unidentified lifeform to appear in the film, Peguila, who served as the antagonist of episodes 5 and 14 in Tsuburaya Productions' Ultra Q, was based upon an illustration by Yūji Kaida, which depicted "cold air flowing from the surface of its body". The fifth giant unidentified lifeform to appear in the film, Kaigel, who debuted in episode 24 of Ultra Q, was also based on an illustration by Kaida, as well as the kaiju's original concept art by Narita. Anno drew the CG model of the fourth kaiju to make an appearance in the film, Larugeus, who debuted in episode 12 of Ultra Q. In Shin Ultraman Design Works, Anno stated that he "tried to make it look like a real bird". The monsters Pagos, Neronga, Gabora were modified from the same computer-generated model to reduce the film's budget. The same method was also used for their first appearance in 1966, when they were adapted from the suit of Baragon featured in Toho's 1965 film Frankenstein Conquers the World.
Tohl Narita's original concept art for episode 18 of Ultraman inspired Alien Zarab's design. Anno stated that Zarab's expressions could not be achieved in a costume, but only with 3DCG, with the body part being transparent. A model of Zarab's head was created but it did not appear in the final cut and was used instead to design his CG depiction. The crew considered altering the body surface of the CG model for Ultraman to recreate Zarab's impersonation of the titular hero, however, only the eye shape was changed, inspired by Narita's hexagonal-eyed Ultraman illustration.
A 3D scan of Ultraman Jack's mask worn by Eiichi Kikuchi in Return of Ultraman was used to design the face of Ultraman's superior, Zōffy. Thus, Zōffy's face inherits Jack's slightly asymmetrical eye angle. The character's design was heavily inspired by Narita's 1989 concept art for Ultraman in Ultraman: Towards the Future, entitled "Ultraman Divine" (ウルトラマン神変, Urutoraman Shinpen). As part of the design process, the crew examined Zōffy's design in episode 39 of Ultraman, specifically the black line in the center of his head and a pattern near the surface line of his body. Zōffy's ultimate biological weapon, Zetton, was based upon Narita's original concept art created for its first appearance in episode 39 of Ultraman. However, the geometric features were emphasized in the final design.
On August 20, 2019, it was announced that Higuchi was looking for extras to take part in filming in the Autumn of 2019. On November 23, 2019, Higuchi made a surprise appearance at the 2nd Atami Monster Film Festival to announce that principal photography had wrapped. Location shooting took place at the Prefectural Assembly Building in Ibaraki Prefecture, Hiratsuka and Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture, Kōfu and Minobu in Yamanashi Prefecture, and Ichihara in Chiba Prefecture.
The scene in which Asami, in a giant mind-controlled state, walks the streets of Tokyo, was filmed on the first day of principal photography, according to Nishijima. Nagasawa stated that Higuchi gave her explicit instructions of how to act in order for her to correspond with the computer graphics for the sequence. For the scene where Asami collapses, Higuchi instructed Nagasawa to fall to the ground and remain motionless. However, Nagasawa struggled to remain immobile, and Higuchi apologized to her afterward.
Ultraman and Mefilas' first conversation in their human disguises was filmed at Asakusa Ichimon, an Izakaya restaurant in the Asakusa district of Taitō, Tokyo, Japan. After the film's release, the restaurant was inundated with reservations. Anno cut a scene filmed by Higuchi, in which, Asami kisses Ultraman farewell in his human disguise, Shinji, before he departed Earth to defeat Zetton, in consideration of the overall balance of the moment.
Several scenes were filmed in 4K using the cast and crew's personal iPhones and iPads.
Visual effects for the film were created by Shirogumi. The visual effects crew used previsualization to create the storyboards for the computer-generated imagery (CGI). Post-production supervisor Linto Ueda explained that "This time we also used it [previsualization] to verify the angle that people would stare at a giant object when it was in front of them." According to Ueda, the crew also used photogrammetry to scan locations that would be used as computer-generated backdrops in the film's fight scenes, stating that "we [the visual effects crew] visited power plants in the provinces, walked around Tokyo, and went with the director [Shinji Higuchi] and film crew on location scouting trips to find image sources for the background." VFX supervisor Atsuki Satō added that "we took a lot of photographs from numerous angles using a drone and constructed 3DCG based on the differentiation in the data we captured to create the background."
Numerous visual effects sequences in the film are combined with original tokusatsu practical effects, such as extensive miniature effect shots. Ultraman's iconic Spacium Beam was created by optical artist Sadao Iizuka using the same technique he used for the original 1966 series, where he would draw a series of rays on paper and change their length and position slightly each time.
Yōhei Kurihara edited the film primarily using Adobe Premiere Pro. Director Higuchi edited a battle scene between Ultraman and one of the monsters. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, post-production was decelerated, resulting in a roughly two-and-a-half-year editing process.
Shirō Sagisu scored the film. The score features several of Sagisu's unused songs which he composed for Shin Godzilla and Neon Genesis Evangelion, as well as several recycled tracks by Kunio Miyauchi. King Records released the film's soundtrack album entitled Shin Ultraman Music Collection (シン・ウルトラマン音楽集, Shin Urutoraman Ongaku Shū) in Japan on June 22, 2022.
On April 8, 2022, it was announced that Kenshi Yonezu would sing the film's theme song "M87". According to Anno, Yonezu originally titled the song "M78" after Ultraman's fictional home galaxy in the original 1966 series, but Anno requested that the title be changed to M87 because he felt it was "more appealing in terms of setting." On May 25, 2022, Oricon News reported that the single had sold approximately 228,881 physical copies. On May 31, 2022, "M87" became No. 1 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100. However, it was surpassed by Hey! Say! JUMP's "a r e a" on June 2, 2022. According to Natalie, Hiroshi Itsuki's song "Little Bird" from the 1974 TV series, Submersion of Japan, plays in the film during Kaminaga and Mefilas' conversation in an izakaya.
Noah Oskow of Unseen Japan felt that the film criticizes Japan's weak government bureaucracy like its predecessor, Shin Godzilla, which was a "meditation on ruinous government inaction and gridlock, specifically serving as a harrowing metaphor for the devastating 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant." In his review for Screen Daily, Tim Grierson wrote that the film contains "a little commentary on humanity's place in the universe, and whether we’ve proven ourselves worthy of continuing as a species", adding: "this messaging isn't always elegantly executed but, like so much of the film, it's presented with such enthusiastic sincerity that it's hard to resist. The world may sometimes be a terrible, frightening place, but Shin Ultraman argues that a little decency can still go a long way".
Director Shinji Higuchi stated to Nerdist in 2022 that the film does not include the same "emphasis on the bureaucracy, politics, etc." as its predecessor, because "if we just did the same thing, it's kind of pointless." Rather, Higuchi explained that the crew intended the film to delineate how humanity and the Japanese government would deal with aliens and monsters as depicted in Ultraman.
The project was first officially publicized on August 1, 2019, by Tsuburaya Productions and Khara, with the directors of Shin Godzilla proclaimed to be in charge of the film. On December 14, 2019, Tsuburaya unveiled a miniature model of Ultraman's new design as well as a new logo for the film, during the opening ceremony of the 2019 Tsuburaya Convention. On November 2, 2020, a human-sized Ultraman statue was unveiled outside the Tokusatsu Archive Center in Sukagawa, the home of Ultraman creator Eiji Tsuburaya, and a summer 2021 release date was announced. The Ultraman statue was later displayed alongside a statue of the 2016 incarnation of Godzilla and a statue of the 2023 incarnation of Kamen Rider as part of the Hideaki Anno Exhibition at the Abeno Harukas Art Museum, located in Abeno-ku, Osaka. Its first teaser trailer was released on January 29, 2021, and received high praise from filmmakers Guillermo del Toro, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, and James Gunn. Two days later, Bandai's official website confirmed that the two monsters that appear in the trailer were Neronga and Gabora of Ultraman. During the 2021 Tsuburaya Convention, Tsuburaya Productions announced the new release date in Japan to be May 13, 2022, along with a new teaser trailer and a new poster.
On February 13, 2022, Toho, Khara, Toei, and Tsuburaya Productions announced a collaborative project titled "Shin Japan Heroes Universe" for merchandise, special events, and tie-ins. The project unites properties that Anno had worked on bearing the title "Shin", such as Shin Godzilla, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, Shin Ultraman and Shin Kamen Rider. On March 17, 2022, the final theatrical release poster and a new theatrical banner for the film were released. As part of the Hideaki Anno Exhibition at the Abeno Harukas Art Museum in Abeno-ku, Osaka, a longer trailer was shown exclusively in theaters and a third teaser trailer was released on April 15. On April 18, 2022, an 82-second trailer for the film was released. To promote the film in Japan, McDonald's released a new version of their Chicken tatsuta fried chicken burger called the "Shin Tatsuta Miyazaki Specialty Chicken Nanban Tartar" on April 20, 2022.
The film was marketed in Japan under the tagline "Have you become so fond of humans, Ultraman?" (そんなに人間が好きになったのか、ウルトラマン。, Son'nani ningen ga suki ni natta no ka, Urutoraman.), which was a question Zōffy asked Ultraman in the series finale of Ultraman and reused in the film.
Shin Ultraman was previously scheduled for an early 2021 summer release, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 2, 2022, the Film Classification and Rating Organization gave the film a rating of "G" (suitable for all ages) for its Japanese release. It had its red carpet premiere on May 9, 2022. The premiere took place in Kabukichō, Shinjuku, Tokyo along Godzilla Street, and the red carpet dubbed the "Shin Ultra Red Carpet", was 60 meters in length the fictitious height of Ultraman in the film. The film was released in Japan by Toho on May 13, 2022, and later to MX4D, 4DX, and Dolby Cinema theaters on June 10, 2022. Due to the film's success, Takumi Saitoh, Masami Nagasawa, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Daiki Arioka, Akari Hayami, Koji Yamamoto, and Shinji Higuchi made a "thank you stage greeting" at a theater in Tokyo on May 25. From July 8 to 21, the film was screened alongside episode 33 of Ultraman, "The Forbidden Words", and was screened alongside episode 39, "Farewell, Ultraman", from July 22 to August 4.
Shin Ultraman had its festival premiere at the 2022 Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival on July 2, 2022. It had its North America premiere at the 26th Fantasia International Film Festival on July 21, where it was packed to the 700-seat capacity, and in the United States two days later at the 21st New York Asian Film Festival, where it was also very successful. Higuchi attending both screenings. It was also screened at festivals in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Austin, Valdivia, Vienna, Sitges, Italy, Amsterdam, Chicago, Nantes, Tokyo, Hawaii (with Saitoh in attendance), and Paris.
On August 5, Tsuburaya announced that the film would be released in 37 territories worldwide (including Asia, the Middle East, and Africa). On September 12, Variety exclusively announced that The Exchange had obtained the sales rights for North America, Europe, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and other remaining countries and was introducing the film to buyers at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was theatrically released in the United Arab Emirates on September 15, 2022, opening in several cities, including Dubai, Sharjah, Al Ain, Ras Al-Khaimah, and Fujairah. In Thailand, the film was screened at the Paragon Cineplex in Siam Paragon, Bangkok on September 22. PVR Pictures distributed the film theatrically in India on September 23. In Vietnam, the film was released on September 30, in Indonesia, on October 5, and in Malaysia the following day. In Hong Kong, it was released theatrically on October 13, with Traditional Chinese subtitles. It was also released in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Mongolia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey. In the United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland it will be released on January 11 and 12, 2023.
Around November 17, 2022, AMC Theatres revealed the film would be released in their theaters on January 11, 2023. At the 2022 Anime NYC Ultraman Connection Panel, it was announced that Fathom Events will give it a two-day limited release in the United States from January 11–12, 2023. Fathom Events and Tsuburaya subsequently reported that the film will be screened in both subtitled and dubbed versions. Rawly Pickens directed the dub, which features the voices of Chris Hackney, Dawn M. Bennett, Emily Frongillo, Brook Chalmers, Kellen Goff, and Matt Shipman.
To celebrate its upcoming U.S. release, a screening of the film was held at Crunchyroll's Anime Frontier on December 4. Event director Peter Tatara stated that the staff were "beyond excited to host this incredible opportunity for our Anime Frontier family – giving them the chance to see this iconic character on the big screen before it hits theaters nationwide."
The first 10 minutes of the film were uploaded to Toho's YouTube channel on June 24, 2022, but were removed after 48 hours. In Japan, the film began exclusive distribution on Amazon Prime Video on November 18, 2022. In commemoration of Tsuburaya Productions' 60th anniversary, it will be released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray, and DVD on April 12, 2023.
Prior to the film's release, Tsuburaya Productions estimated that the film would gross ¥8−10 billion. On its opening day in Japan (May 13, 2022) Shin Ultraman was 32nd at the box office in Japan having sold 191,302 tickets and earned ¥290,102,400. By its third day the film had been screened in 401 buildings nationwide, sold 641,802 tickets and grossed ¥993,410,050 ($7.68 million), becoming the most commercially successful film in the Ultraman franchise, surpassing the 2008 film Superior Ultraman 8 Brothers, and breaking the record that Shinji Higuchi's previous kaiju film, Shin Godzilla had on its third day. In IMAX theaters, the film grossed $1.13 million, making it the highest IMAX live-action film opening in Japan. By its eighth day, it had sold 1.032 million tickets and grossed ¥1.54 billion ($12.04 million). The film remained #1 at the Japanese box office, until it was overtaken by Top Gun: Maverick during its third weekend. During its fifth weekend, the film dropped to #3, behind Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero and Top Gun: Maverick, and fell to #4 the following weekend with a gross of ¥3,839,710,000 ($28.4 million). By its 45th day (June 27) the film had sold 2.69 million tickets and exceeded ¥4 billion ($30.95 million). By July 3, the film had earned an accumulative total of ¥4,165,925,800 ($30.58 million). On September 5, Crunchyroll stated that the film was the highest-grossing Japanese live-action film of 2022 until it was overtaken by Shinsuke Sato's Kingdom 2: To Distant Lands. Shin Ultraman was the sixth highest-grossing domestic Japanese film of 2022, having earned a total of ¥4.44 billion (roughly $33.5 million).
In the United Arab Emirates, it grossed $1,598; in Vietnam it grossed $17,000; in Hong Kong it grossed $303,449; and in Turkey it grossed $1,534. Overall, the film has grossed approximately $33,823,581 worldwide.
Nagoya Railroad hosted a collaborative event from April 22, 2022, to June 26, 2022, that allowed participants to collect "Ultra admission tickets" at 8 stations with the word "Shin" in their titles. There were also collaboration events from April 29 to June 30, 2022, at the Yokohama Landmark Tower with a 10-meter balloon depicting Ultraman on display and merchandise on the 1st floor of Landmark Plaza, as well as novelties at shops and restaurants inside the building. On June 30, 2022, Toho added Neronga and the titular hero of the film to their mobile game Godzilla Battle Line as part of the "Shin Japan Heroes Universe" collaborative project. In addition, Zetton and Alien Mefilas were introduced to the game on August 31, 2022, and were be available as level-enhancing battle pieces until September 30, 2022. From July 7 to August 21, 2022, the Bandai Namco Cross Store at Yokohama World Porters in Naka-ku, Yokohama, hosted another "Shin Japan Heroes Universe" collaboration event called the "Shin Japan Heroes Amusement World". As part of a limited-time collaboration with Tsuburaya Productions' Ultraman franchise, GungHo Online Entertainment added the film's incarnations of Ultraman, Neronga, Gabora, Zarab, Mefilas, and Zetton to their mobile puzzle video game Puzzle & Dragons on July 18, 2022.
The art book, Shin Ultraman Design Works (シン・ウルトラマン デザインワークス, Shin Urutoraman Dezain Wākusu), became available to purchase at theaters in Japan on May 13, 2022, distributed by Khara and was released to bookstores by Ground Works on June 24, 2022. Hideaki Anno authored the book, which contains over 500 artworks, including concept art, CG models, and 3D objects. In June 2022, Poplar Publishing released Shin Ultraman Millennials Book (シン・ウルトラマン MILLENNIALS BOOKミレニアルズ ブック, Shin Urutoraman Mireniaruzu Bukku), a 32-page book celebrating the film's release and the 55th anniversary of the Ultraman franchise. On June 28, 2022, Kodansha released ULTRAMAN HISTORICA: From Ultra Q to Shin Ultraman (ULTRAMAN HISTORICA ウルトラQからシン・ウルトラマンまで, Urutoraman HISTORICA Urutora Kyū kara Shin Urutoraman), a mook detailing every entry in the Ultraman series for adult fans of the franchise.
Shin Ultra Fight
A spin-off miniseries entitled Shin Ultra Fight (シン・ウルトラファイト, Shin Urutora Faito), was streamed on Tsuburaya Productions' streaming service Tsuburaya Imagination from May 14 to July 4, 2022. Shin Ultraman director Shinji Higuchi partially directed and supervised the series while Hideaki Anno, the film's screenwriter, organizer, and producer, was in charge of planning. Cine Bazar, Tsuburaya Productions, Toho, and Khara co-produced the series; utterly consisting of 3D computer graphics, with 3 episodes repurposing footage from Shin Ultraman and 7 episodes featuring computer graphics by Studio Bros, Modeling Bros, and Shirogumi. Inspired by the 1970 TV series Ultra Fight, the series attempted to duplicate the low production values of the original program by filming unscripted episodes, using motion capture performances without correction, and setting the fights in computer-generated environments situated in regular filming locations.
In Shin Ultraman Design Works, Hideaki Anno revealed that he initially wrote a proposal for Tsuburaya Productions on January 17, 2018, proposing a trilogy of films, starting with Shin Ultraman and continuing with an untitled sequel and a remake of Ultraseven from 1967, titled Shin Ultraseven (シン・ウルトラセブン, Shin Urutorasebun). Ultraman's motion capture actor, Bin Furuya, expressed interest in making a cameo appearance in Shin Ultraseven because he played Ultra Guard member Amagi in Ultraseven, and noted: "If the public watches [the film] 5 or 6 times, there will likely be a story like Shin Ultraseven."
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