Anime Programming in the US
Making a Living in Manga in Japan with Felipe Smith
Lost in Translation
Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (pictured at right), Hayao Miyazaki's first feature film in nearly four years, opened at #1 at the Japanese box office during the July 19-20 weekend. 1,251,107 people spent 1,575,820,000 yen (about US$14,638,000) to see the film on 481 screens during the first three days. That added up to 101.4% of the audience and 96.6% of the box office take of Miyazaki's Spirited Away (2001) during that movie's first three days. Spirited Away eventually went on to earn 30.4 billion yen (US$282 million), the highest box office record in Japan. While Ponyo's audience was largely families, there were also people in their 20s and 30s. Ponyo opened on 145 more screens than Spirited Away had, and Spirited Away had opened at the end of the traditional summer break instead of the middle of July.
Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl: Giratina to Sora no Hanataba Shaymin, the Pokémon franchise's 11th feature film, also opened this past weekend. It took #2 with 982,000 people spending 1,018,770,000 yen (US$9,463,400) to see it. It is tracking at 89.8% of the box office performance of the last year's Pokémon film, Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai (Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl: Dialga vs. Palkia vs. Darkrai). The Rise of Darkrai eventually earned a franchise record of 5.02 billion yen (US$47 million).
Boys Over Flowers: Final (Hana Yori Dango Final), Yasuharu Ishii's live-action film finale based on Yoko Kamio's Boys Over Flowers (Hana Yori Dango) romantic comedy manga, fell to #3 after three weeks at #1. Gegege no Kitarō: Sennen Noroi Uta (Gegege no Kitarō: The Thousand-Year-Curse Song), the live-action film sequel based on Shigeru Mizuki's supernatural manga, dropped from #3 to #5 in its second week. Soreike! Anpanman: Yōsei Rinrin no Himitsu, the latest entry in the anime franchise based on Takashi Yanase's pastry-faced hero, also fell two spots to #8 in its second week. The Wachowski Brothers' live-action adaptation of the Speed Racer anime faded further from #7 to #9 in its third weekend.
Image © 2008 Nibariki, GNDHDDT