“The Boy and the Heron” is the latest film from the legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki.
“The Boy and the Heron,” the latest work from beloved Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, has become his first film to top the North American box office.
The movie earned just under $13 million in its opening weekend, the biggest ever opening in the United States and Canada for a film by Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, which he co-founded, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore.
“This weekend demonstrated the power of Japanese cinema to draw audiences to the multiplex,” Dergarabedian told CNN, adding that Miyazaki’s previous films had only had “very limited” releases in North America.
The new animated fantasy from the director of “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Spirited Away” is also the first fully foreign production to reach the top of the US box office this year, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“The Boy and the Heron,” a story of a child who travels to a mysterious realm after his mother dies, released in theaters across the United States on December 8. Dergarabedian noted that it was “by far” the widest release any of Miyazaki’s films have had in North America.
It earned Miyazaki his first Golden Globe nomination with a nod in the best animated motion picture category on Monday. It was also nominated for best original score for composer Joe Hisaishi.
The film marks his return to filmmaking after he announced his retirement in 2013. Studio Ghibli, which was sold to Nippon TV earlier this year, said the film took seven years to make.
Miyazaki’s movies have long been popular in Japan and across Asia. The acclaimed filmmaker’s 2001 film “Spirited Away” was the highest-grossing film in Japanese history for 19 years and won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
He is regarded by many as one of the world’s greatest animators and an icon of Japanese popular culture, with his films having shaped the animation industry.
Miyazaki has been known for his hand-drawn animation, sticking to old-school, painstaking frame-by-frame methods.
Many of his hits, from “The Wind Rises” (2013) to “Princess Mononoke” (1997) and “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2004), feature delicately rendered characters, exquisitely crafted environments and an effortless sensation of movement.