Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Tops $30 Million, Leading Actors to Reveal Shockingly Low Pay Rates

Jujutsu Kaisen 0's runaway success has sparked a new conversation about how little the anime industry pays its English voice actors.

The animated prequel movie debuted in North America in March. Box Office Mojo estimates that film has now made a healthy $30 million USD at the American box-office. The film's international release follows a blockbuster run in Japanese theaters, where it was released last December and quickly managed to become the highest-grossing film in the region for 2021 and one of the top 10 highest-grossing anime movies ever. The movie is currently estimated to have earned $162.9 million USD worldwide, almost doubling the $85 million USD that distributor Toho Co. Ltd. originally projected for the film to earn over its entire lifetime. While Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is generating substantial profits for its producers, the film's English voice cast have started speaking up about how little they were paid for their contributions to the movie.

Tara Jayne Sands, who voices the characters of Momo Nishimiya and Utahime Iori in the series, stated that she was paid just $150 USD for her role in the film. The voice actor's statements were posted as a reply to a tweet from fellow voice actor Sean Chiplock (Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel), who stated that the actors on the film would not receive any royalties or post-release payments stemming from the movie's success. Sands stated that she unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate a higher wage since Jujutsu Kaisen 0 would be a theatrical release. The actor further clarified that she doesn't blame the recording studios, as they are given a strict budget by the companies behind the anime. Sands believes changes need to happen at the top of these companies before the wage situation will improve.

Sands' statements echo similar sentiments from voice actor Kaiji Tang, who stars in the movie as the voice of Satoru Gojo. Tang stated that he would not be able to make a living as an anime voice actor if he did not also do audio book and educational work on the side. The actor also revealed that English voice actors are given very little prep time for their roles, and often have to do "cold reads" on the script as they are recording the lines that will be used in the final product.

Several other prominent voice actors, including Stephanie Sheh (FLCL, Sailor Moon) and Kyle McCarley (Mob Psycho 100), have pushed for the anime industry to adopt union dubbing. While some distributors, such as GKIDS and Netflix, do utilize some union voice work, the majority of the English voice acting industry is non-union.

Source: Box Office Mojo, Twitter (1, 2)

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