'The Boy and the Heron' Hayao Miyazaki 'The Boy and the Heron' Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film The Boy and the Heron finished its fourth weekend in Japanese cinemas in fourth place at the box office, crossing the five-billion-yen milestone in the process.

The Boy and the Heron opened in mid-July with a Ghibli-best 1.83B yen ($13.2M) debut. However, the film’s weekly grosses have dropped at a more precipitous rate than is typical for a Miyazaki film, and after four weeks The Boy and the Heron is tracking behind some of the director’s previous films.

After four weeks, the total domestic gross of The Boy and the Heron reached 5.48 billion yen ($38.5M) on 3.61 million admissions – the metric favored by Japanese box office followers. According to Crunchyroll, that total is only 98% of the first four-week gross of Miyazaki’s previous film, The Wind Rises. That film ended its box office run at 12 billion yen (US$116.9 million).

The Wind Rises is the fifth-highest-grossing Miyazaki film in Japan. Four through one are Ponyo (15.5B yen), Howl’s Moving Castle (19.6B yen), Princess Mononoke (20.2B yen), and Spirited Away (31.7B yen). While good legs could help The Boy and the Heron catch back up to The Wind Rises, it would take some doing to finish any higher than that on the list.

Despite The Boy and the Heron’s slowing box office returns, grossing nearly $40M in one month is still a fantastic return for Studio Ghibli, especially when one accounts for the fact that the studio very famously refused to do any PR or even release a trailer for the film.

The Boy and the Heron will be available in U.S. theaters later this year, distributed by longtime Ghibli collaborator GKIDS. The film will also open this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Box office figures taken from Crunchyroll and Nippon.com

Pictured at top: Hayao Miyazaki By 文部科学省ホームページ, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76120872

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