Japanese time travel fantasy "Thermae Romae" is the number one film at the Taipei box office.
Over the three-day weekend, Takeuchi Hideki's comedy starring Abe Hiroshi and Aya Ueto made NT$5.76 million (US$193,000). By Tuesday night it had taken NT$7.53 million (US$252,000) on 31,000 admissions.
Based on a comic book, it's the story of a bathhouse architect in ancient Rome who finds himself transported back-and-forth to contemporary Japan where he finds creative influences in modern plumbing.
According to some local media reports, it is the first Japanese film to top the Taipei box office since One Missed Call: Final (2006), which opened in Taiwan through UIP on 1 Sep 2006.
Thermae Romae is distributed in Taiwan by iFilm Co Ltd. MD Jeffrey Chen told Film Business Asia that he was first introduced to the title during last year's TIFFCOM and finalised the deal after this year's Berlin.
Chen decided to buy the title because the original manga it is based on is popular in Taiwan, which also has a hot springs culture. And the concept of time-travel is easy to promote. The casting of Abe Hiroshi also helped locally.
There were two other new releases from Japan on Friday Sadako 3D and Rainbow Fireflies. They took NT$2.34 million (US$78,400) and NT$53,500 (US$1,800) respectively over the weekend.
Thermae Romae is the second highest grossing film at the Japan box office this year with ¥5.94 billion (US$75.7 million). It next opens in Hong Kong on 25 Oct 2012.