Highly anticipated anime movie is getting limited release for an absurd reason

Anthony McGlynn
Look Back

Look Back has quietly become a movie well worth keeping an eye on, going by a particularly strong reception in Japan – but the US release might make catching it tricky.

Based on a manga from Chainsaw Man creator Tatsuki Fujimoto, Look Back centers on two children who bond over their love of creativity. But their companionship grows complicated thanks to a serial killer in the locality, creating a mystifying yet stirring narrative.

So far, the anime movie has gone down well in Japan. Hideo Kojima, creator of Death Stranding and Metal Gear Solid, and Takashi Yamazaki, director of Godzilla Minus One, have both lauded the picture. But while there’s an international release coming, it sounds more limited than expected.

At a panel during Anime Expo 2024, Look Back director Kiyotaka Oshiyama spoke about bringing the new movie to the US and other territories. It’s going to happen, just smaller than anticipated because theater chains turned down the film.

According to MangaAlerts on X/Twitter, Kiyotaka stated that companies he approached weren’t interested because Look Back is shorter than 70 minutes. The account makes it clear this doesn’t mean a theatrical run won’t happen – it’ll just be more limited than we’ve become used to.

No doubt this will be disappointing for the many fans who want to check the flick out. The association to Chainsaw Man alone should garner some interest, not to mention the positive reviews.

But the politics around cinemas and distribution can be complex. Factors like length, origin, and who’s handling the rollout can all factor in. Look Back is relatively short and unattached to a major franchise, so it could be a hard sell.

We’ll have to wait to hear more about when we’ll see the movie for ourselves. Keep an eye on our upcoming anime list for other releases you should be aware of.

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