Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’ Surpasses $300 Million at the Japan Box Office After 19 Years
Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar winner “Spirited Away” has crossed the $300 million mark at Japan’s box office, over 19 years after the anime classic’s original theatrical release. Toho, Japan’s leading film distributor and exhibitor, announced December 15 it was boosting the total domestic box office of “Spirited Away” by $8.5 million, taking into account revival screenings of the film that took place in 2020 (via Variety). With so many new releases postponed amid the pandemic, Toho re-released “Spirited Away” to help lure moviegoers back to theaters. The total gross for “Spirited Away” in Japan now sits at $304 million, which is the all-time record for any film released in Japan.
The new gross for “Spirited Away” means the fall 2020 box office sensation “Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train” has a bit more to go to claim the all-time record. Released by Toho and Aniplex in October, the animated action movie “Demon Slayer” has grossed $291 million to date in Japan and was expected to clinch the title for highest grosser from “Spirited Away” by the next week. Now that “Spirited Away” has surpassed $300 million, it will take “Demon Slayer” a bit longer than expected to move into the number one position.
“Spirited Away” was one of four Studio Ghibli classics Toho re-released in movie theaters starting in June to encourage moviegoers to return to theaters during the pandemic. “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind,” “Princess Mononoke,” and “Tales from Earthsea” were also distributed. Per Variety, all four Studio Ghibli re-releases grossed a combined $25 million at the pandemic box office.
Despite being nearly two decades old, “Spirited Away” has continued to pull in magic numbers at the box office. The Miyazaki film opened in Chinese theaters for the first time in summer 2019 to a massive $28 million haul on its first weekend, over double the $13.2 million Disney and Pixar made with the opening of the highly-anticipated “Toy Story 4.”
News of “Spirited Away” surpassing $300 million domestically in Japan comes at an active time for Studio Ghibli, which recently made all of its movies available to stream in the U.S. via HBO Max for the first time. The animation powerhouse is in the midst of releasing its first CGI animated offering, Goro Miyazaki’s “Earwig and the Witch” (the film arrives in the U.S. in 2021 via GKids) and is also at work on a new feature film from Hayao Miyazaki, the director’s first directorial effort since 2013’s “The Wind Rises.”
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