The Boy and the Heron tops USA box office at #1

The Boy and the Heron

Studio Ghibli’s long-awaited The Boy and the Heron has finally hit western theaters, and for the first time in director Hayao Miyazaki’s life, one of his films has topped the domestic box office.

The Boy and the Heron opened to a strong $12.8 million debut in its opening weekend, topping the North American box office at number one. The film even managed to top the other new and popular Japanese film, Godzilla Minus One, which earned $9.4 million in its fourth weekend and sits at number two this week.

Historically, The Boy and the Heron is only the third anime to ever top the box office in North America, and is the first original anime to ever manage the feat. In comparison – Miyazaki’s previous film, The Wind Rises, grossed $5.2 million for its entire North American run in theaters. The film is also the first entirely-foreign film to top the domestic box office this year.

“It’s really a resounding statement for what animation can be,” said Eric Beckman, founder and chief executive of GKIDS, the North American distributor for Studio Ghibli films (via Nikkei). “American audiences have been ready for a lot more than what they’ve been getting, and I think this really points to that direction.”

The Boy and the Heron was supposed to be Miyazaki’s final film but as we all know the Ghibli director is infamous for his refusal to finally go into retirement. Right when the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, Studio Ghibli confirmed Miyazaki was already working on another film.

The film features an English dub cast with stars like Robert Pattinson, Christian Bale, Dave Bautista and even Mark Hamill. It follows the story of a boy who follows a curious heron bird into a portal to another world, after his mother dies in the bombings of Japan during World War II.



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