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June 13, 2024

The Boy and the Heron Soars to Record-Breaking $12.8 Million Opening Weekend

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Dec 10, 2023

Hayao Miyazaki’s final film The Boy and the Heron topped the North American box office in its opening weekend, earning an estimated $12.8 million across 3,740 theaters. This marks the first time a Miyazaki film has ever hit number one at the domestic box office.

Overview

The Boy and the Heron is a fantasy adventure film written and directed by legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. It tells the story of a young orphan boy who befriends and goes on magical adventures with a heron.

  • The film earned rave reviews from critics, holding a 95% score on Rotten Tomatoes
  • In addition to its record-breaking opening weekend, The Boy and the Heron scored the best per theater average ever for an animated film, bringing in over $3,400 per theater
  • Its opening weekend haul of $12.8 million makes it the highest grossing opening ever for a Studio Ghibli film
  • The Boy and the Heron beat out several major studio releases like Renaissance and The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes to claim the number one spot

“This is a monumental, history-making weekend at the box office for director Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli,” said analyst Gitesh Pandya. “The master animator is enjoying his first ever #1 opening in North America.”

Detailed Opening Weekend Performance

Day Gross # of Theaters Per Theater Avg Total Gross

| Friday | $4.5 million | 3,740 | $1,274 | $4.5 million
| Saturday | $5.1 million | 3,740 | $1,362 | $9.6 million
| Sunday | $3.2 million | 3,740 | $854 | $12.8 million

As shown in the table above, The Boy and the Heron brought in:

  • $4.5 million on Friday across 3,740 theaters for a $1,274 per theater average
  • Another $5.1 million on Saturday with a slightly higher $1,362 average
  • And $3.2 million on Sunday for a weekend tally of $12.8 million

“It feels quite miraculous,” said producer Toshio Suzuki of the film’s successful opening. “We’re so thrilled American audiences have embraced the beauty of Miyazaki’s final masterpiece.”

Critical Reception

In addition to commercial success, The Boy and the Heron has earned widespread critical acclaim:

  • Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calls it “a magical Miyazaki mystery tour and a triumphant last act,” praising its emotional resonance and “breathtaking visual splendor.”
  • Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly says, “For all its flights of fancy, Heron may be Miyazaki’s most grounded film yet – as rewarding as it is beautifully rendered.”
  • Brian Lowry of CNN applauds it as “a poignant and thought-provoking triumph, contemplating loneliness and our connection to nature with signature wonder and grace.”

The near-universal acclaim even from more conservative reviewers like Plugged In speaks to Miyazaki’s storytelling genius and the universal appeal of his films.

Voice Cast

Driving interest for American audiences is the star-studded voice cast assembled for the English dub:

  • Robert Pattinson as the Boy
  • Florence Pugh as the Heron
  • Yoko Ono as The Writer
  • Christoph Waltz as the Sea Captain

Pattinson and Pugh both deliver emotional and charming voice performances that have earned high praise even from animation purists:

  • “While I normally advocate for subs over dubs, Pattinson and Pugh both fully inhabit their roles with sensitivity and spirit,” writes Caroline Siede of The A.V. Club.
  • “Their chemistry carries the film’s emotional core,” concurs Empire Magazine critic Ben Travis.

What’s Next

With Miyazaki announcing The Boy and the Heron as his final film before retirement, its success hopefully convinces him to reconsider leaving animation. But regardless:

  • The film will likely continue its strong box office run in the coming weeks
  • International release rolls out across January and February, where more records may be in store
  • Come awards season, The Boy and the Heron is sure to be an Oscar frontrunner for Best Animated Feature

“The Boy and the Heron makes one thing clear: No living filmmaker can match Miyazaki for sheer imaginative artistry and passion,” declares IndieWire. “Whether this epic crowning achievement marks his final act or just another peak in an endlessly creative career, Miyazaki’s genius shines as bright as ever.”

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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