Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Boy and the Heron’ Soars to Unprecedented $12.8 Million Opening Weekend

December 11, 2023

Hayao Miyazaki's 'The Boy and the Heron' Soars to Unprecedented $12.8 Million

In a groundbreaking achievement for the world of anime, Hayao Miyazaki’s latest masterpiece, “The Boy and the Heron,” has captivated audiences, raking in an astounding $12.8 million during its debut weekend. This marks a historic milestone as the first original anime production to claim the top spot at the domestic box office. The film’s distribution through GKids includes screenings in Imax and premium large-format auditoriums, contributing to its record-breaking success.

Miyazaki, renowned for his iconic creations like “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke,” makes an unexpected return to the big screen after an absence of more than a decade. The visionary filmmaker had previously announced his retirement in 2013 with the release of “The Wind Rises.” “The Boy and the Heron” is gradually making its international presence felt, amassing an impressive $84 million in total revenue, with a significant $56 million contribution from Miyazaki’s homeland, Japan.

The film’s triumphant performance is further accentuated by a favorable cinematic landscape, with anticipated holiday blockbusters like “Wonka” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” still awaiting their premieres in the weeks to come. The scarcity of major releases undoubtedly played a role in “The Boy and the Heron” dominating the box office.

While last week’s leader, “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” experienced a considerable 77% drop in its second weekend, earning $5 million and securing the fifth position, other films took advantage of the vacuum. Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” claimed the second spot with a respectable $9.4 million, pushing its domestic earnings to $135.6 million.

Toho International’s “Godzilla Minus One” continued its impressive run, stomping its way to $8.3 million in its second weekend, solidifying its status as the highest-grossing live-action Japanese film released in North America, with a cumulative domestic total of $25.3 million.

Universal and DreamsWorks Animation’s “Trolls Band Together” claimed the fourth spot, adding $6.2 million to its total earnings, reaching $83.1 million. Meanwhile, Bleecker Street’s new offering, “Waitress: The Musical,” earned $3.2 million.

In limited release, Searchlight’s “Poor Things” made a remarkable debut, earning $644,000 from only nine theaters. With a per-theater average of $72,000, it stands out as the best of the fall awards season, generating buzz for its off-beat comedy directed by YorgosLanthimos and starring Emma Stone.

“Origin,” directed by Ava DuVernay and based on Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” emerged as a significant favorite. It debuted in a restricted release, achieving an average of $58,532 per screen and accumulating a total of $117,063 from two theaters.

As the holiday season progresses, the eagerly awaited release of “Wonka,” starring TimothéeChalamet and delving into the early days of the famous candy maker, is anticipated to sweeten the box office. Despite this, industry insiders and analysts predict a more subdued holiday season compared to the previous two years dominated by mega-hits like “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

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