Hayao Miyazaki’s Newest Anime, ‘The Boy and the Heron,’ Tops North American Box Office

by Michael Nguyen
Hayao Miyazaki Box Office Success

Hayao Miyazaki, the renowned 82-year-old Japanese anime creator, has achieved a significant milestone with his latest creation, “The Boy and the Heron,” securing the top spot at the North American box office. This marks the first time in his illustrious career that one of his films has achieved this feat. The film premiered to an impressive $12.8 million in earnings, as reported by studio estimates.

This highly anticipated animated fantasy is Miyazaki’s newest addition following his famed works like “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro.” Notably, “The Boy and the Heron” is one of only three anime films to ever lead the box office in the United States and Canada, and it’s the first to be an original anime to do so. The film is available in both subtitled and dubbed formats and is the first entirely foreign film to dominate the domestic box office this year.

Despite Miyazaki’s films being major successes in Japan and across Asia, they have historically garnered less attention in North American theaters. His last film, “The Wind Rises” (2013), was his most successful in North America, grossing $5.2 million throughout its domestic run.

“The Boy and the Heron,” which previously amassed $56 million in Japan, was once thought to be Miyazaki’s final project. However, during its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, Studio Ghibli’s vice president Junichi Nishioka revealed that Miyazaki, who had previously retired, is working on another film.

The film has been praised as one of the best of the year. It features an English dub voice cast including notable actors like Robert Pattinson, Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, and Mark Hamill. The plot revolves around a young boy who is guided by a mystical heron to a magical world after losing his mother in a World War II bombing. In Japan, the film is titled “How Do You Live?”

Last week’s top movie, “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” saw a significant drop in its second weekend. This concert film, following Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” distributed by AMC Theatres, earned $5 million, a 76% decrease from its $21 million debut.

“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” from Lionsgate retained its strong performance, securing the second spot with an estimated $9.4 million in its fourth weekend. The prequel to “The Hunger Games” series has now grossed a total of $135.7 million domestically.

Another Japanese film, “Godzilla Minus One,” also performed well, earning $8.3 million for Toho Studios. Directed by Takashi Yamazaki, this acclaimed kaiju movie experienced only a 27% drop in its second weekend, bringing its total earnings to $25 million.

In limited release, several films showed potential for award season. “Poor Things,” a twisted fantasy by Yorgos Lanthimos featuring Emma Stone, opened with $644,000 in select theaters across New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Austin, Texas. It is set to expand to more theaters next week.

Ava DuVernay’s “Origin” had an Oscar-qualifying run in two theaters in New York and Los Angeles, starring Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as author Isabel Wilkerson investigating race and inequality for her book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.” The film will have a wider release on January 19.

Timothée Chalamet’s “Wonka,” eagerly awaited for the holiday season, began its international journey with $43.2 million from 37 markets. Directed by Paul King, known for “Paddington,” it is anticipated to lead ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada in the upcoming weekend.

The estimated ticket sales from Friday to Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters are provided by Comscore. The final domestic figures are expected to be released on Monday.

Box Office Rankings:

  1. “The Boy and the Heron,” $12.8 million.
  2. “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes,” $9.4 million.
  3. “Godzilla Minus One,” $8.3 million.
  4. “Trolls Band Together,” $6.2 million.
  5. “Wish,” $5.3 million.
  6. “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” $5 million.
  7. “Napoleon,” $4.2 million.
  8. “Waitress: The Musical,” $3.2 million.
  9. “Animal,” $2.3 million.
  10. “The Shift,” $2.2 million.

For further details, follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hayao Miyazaki Box Office Success

What is the significance of Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” topping the North American box office?

This achievement marks the first time a film by Hayao Miyazaki, the acclaimed Japanese anime director, has reached the number one spot at the North American box office, indicating a significant breakthrough in his international recognition and the global appeal of anime.

What is the plot of “The Boy and the Heron”?

The film tells the story of a young boy who, after losing his mother in a World War II bombing, is led by a mysterious heron to a portal that transports him to a fantastical realm. It features a voice cast including Robert Pattinson, Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, and Mark Hamill.

How has “The Boy and the Heron” performed financially in Japan and North America?

In Japan, “The Boy and the Heron” has collected $56 million, while it debuted in North America with $12.8 million, leading the box office.

Is Hayao Miyazaki planning to retire after “The Boy and the Heron”?

Contrary to previous expectations that “The Boy and the Heron” would be Miyazaki’s final film, Studio Ghibli’s vice president Junichi Nishioka revealed that Miyazaki is working on another film project.

What other films were notable in the same box office period as “The Boy and the Heron”?

Other significant films during this period include “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes,” and “Godzilla Minus One,” each performing notably in the box office rankings.

More about Hayao Miyazaki Box Office Success

  • Hayao Miyazaki’s Career Achievements
  • The Boy and the Heron Box Office Success
  • The Global Appeal of Anime
  • Upcoming Projects of Hayao Miyazaki
  • North American Box Office Rankings

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Mike Johnson December 11, 2023 - 3:40 am

Wow, Miyazaki does it again! Can’t believe he’s still making such amazing films at 82, this guy’s a legend.

Sarah K December 11, 2023 - 8:57 am

just saw ‘The Boy and the Heron’ last night, totally blown away, the animation is just mind-blowing, a real treat for the eyes!

AnimeFan101 December 11, 2023 - 3:50 pm

gotta say, didn’t expect Miyazaki’s film to top the box office in North America, it’s a huge deal for anime lovers everywhere, finally getting the recognition it deserves.

Chris L December 11, 2023 - 9:39 pm

Interesting to see how well ‘The Boy and the Heron’ is doing compared to his previous works, Miyazaki is breaking records even now, what a career!


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