Box Office: A Strong Opening for “The Secret World of Arrietty”

Secret World of Arriety

Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty opened in the US with $6.4 million last weekend, and a total of $8.7 million over the four-day holiday period. The gross tops the previous high for a Ghibli film premiere in the US, Ponyo, which opened with $3.6 million in 2009.

Arrietty was distributed by Disney, whose last hand-drawn animation release was Winnie the Pooh. That film’s opening weekend take was slightly greater–$7.9 million–but it also opened in nearly 900 more theaters than Arrietty (2,405 theaters for Pooh versus 1,522 theaters for Arrietty).

Arrietty may not be a box office smash smash, but it’s a respectable showing for a stateside anime release and proves that there is a market for mid-sized theatrical runs of unconventional animated fare. Before it’s all over, Arrietty will likely end up as the third-highest grossing anime feature of all time in the US, behind only Pokemon: The First Movie and Pokemon: The Movie 2000.


  • Bob Harper

    This is great for independent animators who don’t work CG and want to offer a variety of styles and stories to an audience that actually exists.

  • ajnrules

    Hopefully this will convince Disney to expand the release for Arrietty. And good golly…it’s crazy to look back to twelve years ago and remember that Pokemon: The First Movie made $31.0 million in its opening weekend, and $85.7 million overall. Although I must confess I contributed to those totals.

  • andreas Wessel-Therhorn

    it also shows that there s a limited market for japanese animation stateside, whether animation fans like it or not.

  • http://snazzysuits.wordpress.com cbat628

    Is “Pokemon: The First Movie” REALLY the second-highest grossing anime feature in the U.S.? If so, let me apologize on behalf of my childhood-self for dragging my parents to see this with me.

    In any case, I’m really looking forward to “Arrietty.”

    • ajnrules

      Pokemon: The First Movie is the highest grossing anime film ($85.7 million.) Pokemon the Movie 2000 is second ($43.7 million.)

      Then again, both of them have still outgrossed The Artist. Shows you that box office doesn’t mean much.

      • http://snazzysuits.wordpress.com cbat628

        Thanks for the clarification, ajnrules. Re-reading my comment, I have some regret posting it, not just for the factual inaccuracy, but the sentiment it has.

        I am neither ashamed that I saw “Pokemon: The First Movie” nor am I angry that it made that much money. In fact, I still get nostalgic over the “Pokemon Universe” whenever I see my original VHS copy (I’m a hoarder). I just want a movie like “The Secret World of Arrietty” to gain more exposure.

        My thinking (as someone without any business experience, film or otherwise) is that box office analysts base a movie’s “success” as an entertaining product solely on its box office performance. History has given this notion many notable exceptions, but as finance is very much involved in a movie’s production and release, it is almost necessary for a movie to have a good box office showing so that a similar movie stands more of a chance to be made.

        There is nothing wrong with “Pokemon,” I would just like “Arrietty” to have an even stronger showing so it can hold more persuasion with the “higher-ups” to invest more time in statewide anime releases.

        Anyway, don’t let my dour comment spoil the mood. This is great news, and I am looking forward to seeing “The Secret World of Arrietty” even more.

      • ajnrules

        Hey, no problems with being a Pokemaniac. I saw Pokemon: The First Movie twice in theaters back in the day, while I skipped on watching my all-time favorite movie Spirited Away in its initial theatrical run, so I’m guilty as charged.

        I do agree with you in that there should be greater exposure of anime films in general, not just Studio Ghibli films.

  • http://moo-cartoon.blogspot.com MooCartoon

    That’s great news! Hopefully this will bring forth not just more foreign animation to have stateside theatrical releases (not just anime,) but hopefully will show that there’s still a market for 2D animation in theatres.

    For my full review on Arrietty, check out this link: http://moo-cartoon.blogspot.com/2012/02/secret-world-of-arrietty-review.html

    • Arabela

      Yes, we wan’t mexican Top Cat :)

  • A Painter

    i am just amazed at how they draw so well. I just watched Princess Mononoke and I was like this cant be possible for a human being to draw and animate this good. the action and everything is perfect. the ability to sit down for hours and draw. there is a special place in heaven for 2-D animators man lol.

  • Mike

    That’s great to hear! I actually just got back from a screening–Arrietty certainly belongs with the slighter Ghibli features, but it’s still a wonderful work of art!

  • Matt

    Man… we need more Pokemon.

    • Funkybat

      If we’re talking “licensed Nintendo characters” animation, my vote goes for a modern (and much better written/animated) “Super Mario Bros.” show. The “Mario” universe has continued to grow in the years since the charmingly cheap “Super Show” and I would love to see a TV series with those characters aimed at the current generation, with nods to us O.G.s.

      • http://mousetracksonline.com/blog.php Greg Ehrbar

        I loved it when, on the Super Mario Show, special Guest Star Cyndi Lauper entered and departed the set while “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” played in the background, just as if her hit song just follows her around in the air everywhere she goes.

  • http://kicreativestudio.blogspot.com/ Ki Innis

    Nice! Glad to hear it!

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    This is great. I really hope it will encourage Disney to
    release Goro Miyazaki’s Up On Poppy Hill between now and December.

  • Paul N

    Since we’re speculating on what this means…
    Maybe it did so well because it’s not a Japanese-centric story, and is instead a story audiences here may be familiar with?

  • simple math

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