The film, which is set to close this year's Pusan International Film Festival, opened on 84 screens for a high per-screen average of $28,800, by far the highest this year, with no other film managing to crack $20,000.
Japan 's annual animated franchise installments such as Pokemon, Doraemon and Detective Conan often open at number one, but it's much less common for more adult-oriented fare to do so. It is also highly unusual for a film to reach the pole position on less than 100 screens.
Due to large crowds in Tokyo 's Shinjuku district, co-distributor Nikkatsu changed from a 224-seat theatre to the 1,046-stadium-seat Milano just prior to the film's opening. Milano's seven opening-day showings sold out with standing room-only audiences
Meanwhile, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, which has held either first or second place over the past seven weeks, fell to third position behind Toho's Life: Tears In Heaven (Tengoku De Kimi Ni Aetara). Hollywood fare held the fourth to seventh spots with Ocean's Thirteen, Transformers, Ratatouille and last week's number one-ranked Rush Hour 3 sinking to seventh place.
Evangelion: 1.0 is part of a new tetralogy of features labeled as a 'Rebuild' of the legendary Neon Genesis Evangelion TV and feature film franchise. The apocalyptic, pseudo-religious robot saga was created by Hideaki Anno in 1995. Anno is overseeing the direction of the rebuild series, with Kazuya Tsurumaki credited as director on Evangelion: 1.0.
Rebuild Of Evangelion 2.0 , 3.0 and Final are slated for release in 2008 and 2009.
Evangelion is produced by animation house Gainax and Anno's Studio Khara. The film is co-distributed by Klockworx, Nikkatsu and Studio Khara.