With acclaimed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki at the helm, it’s no surprise that Studio Ghibli’s The Boy and the Heron has reached a new milestone at the U.S. box office. The whimsical feature opened to a highly-impressive US$12.8 million haul, making it the first original anime title in history to top the country’s chart.
This milestone comes after it shattered other records, including becoming the maestro’s highest-grossing film, not adjusted for inflation, for the U.S. crowd. His previous best was 2013’s The Wind Rises – originally intended to be his swansong – which earned US$5.2 million in its entire North American run. The movie is also the first foreign production to top the U.S. list this year, surpassing its Japanese counterpart Godzilla Minus One.
That isn’t to say the monster pic, now the top-grossing Japanese live-action title of all time in the States, has faltered. It placed third in its second weekend with a solid US$8.3 million, with The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes coming in at No. 2. Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls Band Together held fourth place (US$6.2 million), while Disney’s Wish (US$5.3 million) and Beyoncé’s concert documentary, Renaissance (estimated US$5 million), ranked fifth and sixth respectively.
Prior to its U.S. release, The Boy and the Heron made history as the first animated movie to open the Toronto Film Festival. The film earned more than US$85 million in Japan, and has been nominated in the Animated Feature category for next year’s Oscars. It premiered in Singapore on 30 November, and is available in Japanese with English and Chinese subtitles.
For moviegoers in North America, it will come with English subtitles or a dubbed version. The star-studded list include Christian Bale, Gemma Chan, Willem Defoe, Robert Pattinson and Florence Pugh, joining the original Japanese voice cast of Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki, Aimyon, Yoshino Kimura, Takuya Kimura, and more.