TOKYO--Square Enix's first computer-generated movie may have flopped, but its second attempt has been a major success. In 2001, Sony-owned Columbia Pictures released Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, an ambitious computer-generated movie made by game publisher Square Co. Ltd. The film, in a word, tanked. Earning only $32 million against a budget of more than $135 million, Spirits Within forced Square to scrap its animated film efforts to eventually merge with rival role-playing-game publisher Enix.
Luckily, Square's second CG effort isn't suffering from sophomore-slump syndrome. The company announced today that Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has shipped a total of 700,000 units in Japan since its release on September 14. The figure includes the UMD version of the film, the DVD version, and the 29,800 yen ($260) limited edition DVD package, which was only available for preorder.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has been the subject of much attention because of its high-quality graphics, and it was featured at the Venice Film festival for two years in a row. This year, the film is making its way to the Montreal Film Festival and the Catalunya International Film Festival in Spain.
"We believe this was the result of the movie getting accepted by not just Final Fantasy VII fans, but by a wide audience," commented producer Shinji Hashimoto. "We feel that there is great anticipation [for the movie] in North America and Europe, where it is scheduled for release. We hope to make it an even bigger success [in those regions] than it was in the Japanese market."
But while the Japanese success of Advent Children is now an established fact, its American release remains plagued by uncertainty. Although online retailers list the movie as coming out on DVD and UMD next month, American Square Enix reps told GameSpot that "no final US release plans have been announced yet."