Gavan has been out at the theater for two weeks now! We’ve had enough time to figure out how it’s done, so let’s get rolling.
The movie had a ton of promotion going along with itself. It was the 30th anniversary of the Metal Heroes and its big return, there were two novels released in conjunction with it and a limited run manga series featuring a prolific manga artist. So how did it do?
Long story short, Gavan bombed. Budgets for Toei tokusatsu movies aren’t typically very high and I still feel confident (but not happy) in saying that Gavan is pretty much a bomb. During its first week, a week where only two other movies opened, Gavan ranked in at number five on the top ten. Given that Sentai and Rider movies range anywhere from four to one on those charts, not bad for a movie based on a hero that hasn’t been on TV outside of two Go-Busters busters in ages, right? Well, that position fooled me too. Once the numbers came in, it was a different story.
During its first week, Uchuu Keiji Gavan the Movie made ¥75,192,339, which is roughly something like $950,200. Ouch. A typical Sentai VS movie, usually doing less business than a Kamen Rider movie, makes more than that. Shinkenger VS Go-Onger did ¥145,097,488. (thanks to HJU’s NeonZ) Sentai films seem to end their run with somewhere around three to five million dollars and, hey! Ultraman Zero ranked lowered and made about the same in its first week and that still held on to make four million or so! Gavan’s got a chance, right?
Week 2: Eight new movies open. Gavan isn’t even in the top ten. Ouch.
I think it’s safe to say that Gavan probably did not meet expectations. There is a lot blame being placed all over the place, some on director Osamu Kaneda, known for his less than great, but far more financially success Kamen Rider team up movies. Some people place the blame on this movie’s promotional campaign being super nostalgic. There was no doubt the commercials, while meant to look cool to kids, were aiming at adults who saw the early Metal Heroes in their youth. Prominently featuring Shaider and Sharivan, characters who only appear for a few scenes in the movie itself, the commercials for this movie tried to ignite memories of an older generation rather than grab a new one. People are even placing some of the blame on Gavan Type-G being a vaguely modified Gavan suit rather than something totally brand new. I think I would have enjoyed a newer, more modern take on the Gavan suit rather than simply replicating the original.
It looked like Toei might have tried to revive Metal Heroes through movies, but given this thing’s performance, this could be the last we hear of Metal Heroes for a long time.