Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Boy and the Heron’ Tops Box Office



The Boy and the Heron,” a fantastical coming-of-age story from animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki, earned $12.8 million in its opening weekend, becoming the first original anime production to top the domestic box office. The GKids release is showing in Imax and other premium large format auditoriums, which bolstered its record-breaking revenues and helped secure its first place finish. It also benefitted from a lack of big-screen offerings, with holiday blockbusters such as “Wonka” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” still waiting to make their debuts in the coming weeks.

“The Boy and the Heron” marks Miyazaki’s unexpected return to screens after being absent for more than a decade — the filmmaker behind classics like “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke” announced he was retiring in 2013 when his previous film, “The Wind Rises,” was released. “The Boy and the Heron” has slowly been rolling out internationally, earning $84 million, with $56 million of that coming from Miyazaki’s native Japan.

Last weekend’s champ, “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé,” tumbled in its second weekend, earning $5 million for a fifth place finish. That’s a precipitous 77% drop, signaling that the music icon’s concert film may not have the staying power of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” which has grossed nearly $180 million. “Renaissance” has earned roughly $28 million domestically. Like Swift, Queen Bey has bypassed a traditional studio in order to release her film, enlisting AMC Theatres to oversee its distribution. That allows her to keep a larger share of the ticket sales.

As “Renaissance” faltered, Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” took second place, picking up $9.4 million to push its domestic haul to $135.6 million. That’s a solid number, particularly considering that the “Hunger Games” prequel carries a $100 million production budget, a modest figure for a film of that size and scope.

Toho International’s “Godzilla Minus One” continued its hot streak, stomping to $8.3 million in its second weekend. The monster movie’s domestic haul stands at $25.3 million, making it the highest-grossing live-action Japanese film to be released in North America.

Universal and DreamsWorks Animation’s “Trolls Band Together” will take fourth place, earning $6.2 million. That brings the family film’s total to $83.1 million. One of the weekend’s other new offerings, Bleecker Street’s “Waitress: The Musical,” earned $3.2 million.

In limited release, Searchlight’s “Poor Things” earned a sterling $644,000 from just nine theaters. Its per-theater average of $72,000 is also the best of the fall awards season — it falls slightly behind the per-theater bows of “Beau Is Afraid” ($80,000) and “Asteroid City” ($142,000), which came out in the spring and summer. The off-beat comedy from Yorgos Lanthimos, the director of “The Favourite,” stars Emma Stone and has been generating plenty of Oscar buzz since it debuted at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the prestigious Golden Lion.

“Origin,” another critical favorite, opened in limited release with $117,063 from two theaters. That’s a per-screen average of $58,532. The Neon release is written and directed by Ava DuVernay and adapts Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” a historical examination of hatred and racism.

Next weekend brings the release of “Wonka,” a look at the early days of the candy maker that stars Timothée Chalamet. That should sweeten the box office, but theater owners and analysts believe this holiday season will be more muted than the prior two years, when the mega-grossing “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” debuted.


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