How Much Must an Anime Make to be Successful | Revealed by Producer from Studio Trigger

From standalone movies like Spirited Away to long term franchises such as Naruto, well written and animated media stand to make an insane amount of money. Recently, Kazuya Masumoto, a producer at Studio TRIGGER, the animation studio behind Kill La Kill and the recent hit Promare, gave guidelines to determine how much an anime needs to earn in terms of profit to be called a success.

Reddit user CosmicPenguin_OV103 took down the quotes from Kazuya Masumoto (Animation Producer for Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Kill la Kill, Space Patrol Luluco, SSSS.Gridman & Promare) from a recent anime-related event in Tokushima:

“An animation project usually requires 200-300 professionals in participation to be completed. If we consider a reasonable cost that would make everyone linked with the project – both the staff and the production companies (profits and employment costs) – happy, the cost would be around 50 million yen (~$US 460K) per episode. (1) A 12 episode anime in this scenario would cost around 600 million yen (~$US 5.5M). At such a production cost the production companies would be able to make a profit and have enough income to train new production staff properly.”

“However, consider that as a business case, the animation production budget would be considered as part of the “material costs” of such a project – that’s usually 1/3 of what the revenue required to make or break a project. Hence, such a project would actually need to receive an income of 1.8 billion yen (~$US 16.5M). Anything below that and the whole project would be losing money. So we are talking about an anime needing to earn 2+ billion yen to actually become successful. That’s almost impossible with the number of anime watchers in Japan alone – maybe children-oriented ones can reach that, but for midnight anime reaching that would require a Hail Mary miracle. And no-one’s going to gamble and invest in such a high-risk project.”

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