Red Cliff opened November 1 on 549 screens, earning $9.64m (Y961.79m) on 825,000 admissions. The screen count represents the highest ever in the territory for a non-Hollywood film, with a strong per screen average of over $18,000 through the holiday weekend.
Toho-Towa, co-distributing with Avex, is predicting a $50.07m (Y5b) final tally, usurping 2003 release Hero's take of $40.37m (Y4b) as the most successful Asian title of all time.
Red Cliff could possibly surpass the number one import of the year, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, which grossed $57.7m.
Red Cliff opened last month's Tokyo International Film Festival on October 18. Despite Japan being the last Asian territory to see the film, a lower prevalence of piracy, popularity of the cast and original novels, and little interest in importation of DVDs without Japanese subtitles has kept interest high. Toho-Towa reported 13,500 advance tickets were sold.
Japanese co-producer Avex Entertainment reportedly invested $35 million in the production, with Toho-Towa and TV Asahi as additional Japanese partners.
Toei drama Where The Legend Lives opened in third, followed by Asmik Ace's comedy The Handsome Suit in fourth. Suspect X, which has earned over $32m, remained in second while Eagle Eye dropped to fifth.
The second instalment of Red Cliff opens in April 2009 across Japan.