The First Slam Dunk Showtimes – Review

The legendary sports anime just released its movie last year. The First Slam Dunk begins the showtimes in 2022. Later, the anime film spread worldwide and gained more popularity. So, how does this movie fare? 

As the icon of Japanese basketball in the ‘90s, it is expected that the movie will end up successful. But, how successful would it be? Well, below, we’ve gathered the information about The First Slam Dunk movie and the impression after watching it. Read on!

About Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk is a Japanese manga centered on basketball written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue. The manga ran in Weekly Shonen Jump from October 1990 to June 1996. The whole chapter was compiled into 31 volumes of manga.

Then, the manga got an anime adaptation by Toei Animation which aired from 1993 to 1996 with 101 episodes. This anime would later be broadcast worldwide, gaining massive popularity in several Asian and European countries.

Slam Dunk Manga
Slam Dunk Manga – Source: @movie_slamdunk

As of now, the manga already has 170 million copies in circulation making it the seventh best-selling manga series in all of time. The series became so influential in spreading the popularity of basketball across Japan. Later, Inoue received special commendations from the Japan Basketball Association for helping popularize basketball in Japan. That recognition cemented Slam Dunk as the best sports manga ever created.

The First Slam Dunk Showtimes

Toei Animation opened an official for a new movie for Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk manga in January 2021. Fans were in uproar because they finally had another Slam Dunk series after more than 25 years. Yet, it took them one and a half years before they posted a teaser video for the First Slam Dunk.

The movie debuted in Japan on December 3, 2022, and it gained high sales through the premiere. Half a year later, the movie was distributed across the world. The country and the distribution date is as follows:

  • Japan – December 3, 2022
  • Italy – May 10, 2023
  • France – June 27, 2023
  • Spain – July 7, 2023
  • Mexico – July 27, 2023
  • United States and Canada – July 28, 2023
  • Latin America – August 3, 2023
  • Poland – August 11, 2023
The First Slam Dunk Key Visual
The First Slam Dunk Key Visual – Source: @movie_slamdunk

Though some countries started the premiere on that date, some did an early live screening for an anime convention. For example, the US hosted the First Slam Dunk showtimes at the Anime Expo, while Poland did the early screening in Pyrkon, a Polish fan convention. On July 21, the official X of the First Slam Dunk announced that the end screening in Japan would be on August 31.

The movie ended up successful and became the top 10 highest-earning movies with 15.7 billion yen. It surpassed Detective Conan; Kurogane no Submarine and The Boy and the Heron by a lot. On the other side, the movie still falls short compared to One Piece Film Red from 2022 which earned 18.7 billion yen.


The First Slam Dunk brings back the old-school basketball alive. With a total visual makeover, Toei Animation and DandeLion Animation Studio want to bait new fans who haven’t watched the original ’90s series. 

Though it is completely different, the old fanbase still finds it nostalgic to watch the Shohoku High School basketball team in action. The CGI and 2D animation are well-combined. It just makes the atmosphere more alive.

Talking about voice-over, everything stays the same as the old anime. Only Sakuragi feels different. But, the cast performance is way too good that we can ignore the difference. Besides, it is already 25 years, so a small difference is fair enough. Moreover, the music for the movie is nothing but epic. Some fans said they could feel the adrenaline come up when they watched the intense moment.

The First Slam Dunk Cast
The First Slam Dunk Cast – Source: @movie_slamdunk

For the story, there is a slight change in the main character. As we know, the MC of Slam Dunk is the red-haired Hanamichi Sakuragi. But, this movie takes Ryota Miyagi as their MC. Maybe it is one of Inoue’s efforts to thread new stories that can be accepted by both old and new fans. However, they also don’t forget about other characters. All five members have a fair portion of exposure throughout the movie.

Some old fans may be caged by nostalgia and find this series left to be desired. But, if they somehow continue the anime that ended 25 years ago, the movie won’t feel appealing to newcomers. What can we only do is show an appreciation for the movie.

Furthermore, thanks to its revival, Takehiko Inoue said that there is a possibility of a sequel. With Vagabond on hiatus, maybe we can look forward to another Hanamichi basketball play soon.

Why Did The First Slam Dunk Showtimes End Early in the US?

As we mentioned above, the First Slam Dunk is obviously one of the most successful movies in 2023. But, the world isn’t so kind as to offer the movie another billion yen. There is one region where the film has largely been pulled from theaters. Yes, it is the United States.

Unlike in Japan, Slam Dunk has a lower popularity in America. Maybe because basketball in America is more well-developed than Japan in the ‘90s making this series left to be desired. Despite that, GKIDS still brings the license of the movie to American soil.

Slam Dunk Character
Slam Dunk Character – @movie_slamdunk

They saw the potential in the film and committed to investing in this film by paying a commission for a brand-new dub. When the First Slam Dunk begins the showtimes, the movie raves reviews from critics and fans claiming to be the best basketball movie ever. But, somehow, the movie went from playing on 581 screens to just 26 across the United States. Looking at that, fans are stretching their heads trying to figure out why.

The release date of the movie is partially the reason why the movie made an early exit. You see, the film was released one week after the best movie of the year in the US, Barbie and Oppenheimer. Stand along with those giants box office may not be the best choice for GKIDS. Thus, they decide to end the movie earlier than the schedule. After all, the reason is simple matter. It was purely a business decision.


The First Slam Dunk is the most awaited movie even before its showtime. When the film dropped off, all those expectations from the fans were paid off. In the end, the movie becomes the most successful 2023 movie in Japan.

It is unreal that a series from 25 years ago still holds a huge impact to this moment. But, the important point is that the movie doesn’t only sell nostalgia. But with a slight change in the story, the newcomer also can feel how this great work became a giant in the ‘90s.

Well, nothing can describe this movie aside from epic. With the possibility of a sequel from Inoue, maybe we can enjoy another basketball series. Well, to know that, just stay tuned in Animefleek for future anime updates on Slam Dunk.

When did The First Slam Dunk begin the showtimes?

The movie premiered on December 23, 2022, in Japan. Later, the movie was broadcast worldwide.

How much did The First Slam Dunk movie earn?

The movie earned 15.7 billion yen making it the highest-grossing movie in Japan for 2023.

Is there a sequel to Slam Dunk?

The author, Takehiko Inoue just hints at the possibility of a sequel in the “COURT SIDE in THEATER FINAL” talk event.

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