“Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo,” the third of the four proposed films in the ambitious “Rebuild of Evangelion” anime project, opened to a first two-day haul of $13.9 million in Japan on Saturday. That makes it the biggest opening weekend of any film this year in Japan.
Both a remake and a re-imagining of Hideaki Anno’s classic mid-1990’s anime series “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” the original series managed to crossover internationally and in many circles is considered as influential a work in the genre as the likes of “Akira”.
The story revolved around the efforts by paramilitary organization NERV to fight hostile beings called Angels. Their primary weapons are giant robots called Evangelions which are piloted by select teenagers, one of whom is the emotionally unstable Shinji Ikari.
Almost ridiculously dense with religious symbolism, philosophical pondering and psychological conflicts, the show only grew more confusing to the point that the final few episodes, and an animated movie aiming at a more “explainable” ending, are generally considered bizarre and incomprehensible at best.
Thus in 2007 began “Rebuild of Evangelion”, a four film series that would essentially re-tell the story in a way that’s more accessible to non-fans, plus take advantage of 3D CG technology. While the first film was a point-for-point adaptation of the first six episodes of the series, the second made a few changes while adapting elements from the next six episodes.
This third film and the upcoming fourth are said to take the story in all new directions. “Evangelion 1.0” earned $25 million in 2007, “Evangelion 2.0” nabbed $50 million in 2009, this one is expected to easily top them both.