‘The Boy and the Heron’ and ‘Godzilla Minus One’ Break American Box Office Records

‘The Boy and the Heron’ and ‘Godzilla Minus One’ Break American Box Office Records

Two of Japan’s most critically acclaimed films from this year – The Boy and the Heron and Godzilla Minus One, which were both released by Toho – broke American box office records this weekend. The Boy and the Heron took the top spot at the domestic box office with ticket sales of $12.8 million, while Godzilla Minus One came in third place with $8.3 million, IGN is reporting.

The Boy and the Heron, which was once thought to be legendary director Hayao Miyazaki’s last movie, added another $2.4 million overseas this weekend.

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After the global total this weekend, the animated fantasy film’s international total has surpassed $114.2 million. This is the first time in the filmmaker’s decades-spanning career that one of his features reached No. 1 at the North American box office.

The Boy and the Heron, the long-awaited animated fantasy from the director of Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro, has been hailed as one of the best movies of the year. The project was the second runner up in the People’s Choice Award category at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it had its International Premiere, in September.

The Boy and the Heron is only the third anime to ever top the box office in U.S. and Canadian theaters. It’s also the first original anime to do so. The drama is also the first fully foreign production to reach the top spot at the domestic box office this year.

Although Miyazaki’s movies have often been enormous hits in Japan and Asia, they’ve traditionally made less of an impact in North American theaters. The filmmaker’s previous best performing feature was his last project, the 2013 animated historical drama, The Wind Rises. The movie grossed $5.2 million in its entire domestic run.

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Miyazaki stepped down from the director’s chair after The Wind Rises‘ release a decade ago, but came out of retirement to make The Boy and the Heron. The filmmaker, who also wrote the new anime, decided to make another movie after The Boy and the Heron‘s commercial and critical success.

Producer Toshio Suzuki, who works for the drama’s production company, Studio Ghibli, shared Miyazaki is already hard at work on his next feature. “He’s thinking about this next project every day, and I can’t stop him — in fact, I’ve given up,” Suzuki said. “I no longer try to dissuade him, even if he were to make a failed film. In life, it’s only the work that delights him.”

Besides The Boy and the Heron, Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is continuing its impressive run at the box office. In its fourth  week in theaters, it garnered the second place spot at the domestic box office, with ticket sales totaling $9.4 million. Since its release on November 17, The Hunger Games prequel has earned $135.6 million in North America and $278.9 million globally.

Godzilla Minus One garnered the third place at the domestic box office with $8.3 million. The acclaimed kaiju movie, which was penned and helmed by Takashi Yamazaki, dipped just 27% in its second weekend of release, bringing its box office total to million.

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Trolls Band Together placed fourth with $6.2 million. Wish rounded out the top five at the American box office this weekend with $5.3 million.

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