Japanese Film Triumph: Godzilla Minus One and Studio Ghibli’s The Boy and the Heron Soar in North America

Mike Villarreal

It’s been a good month for Japanese films in North America. Over the weekend, both Godzilla Minus One and The Boy and the Heron were ranked in the top 5 for domestic box office gross.

Godzilla Minus One has been praised by critics and moviegoers with a 98% Tomatometer and an A on CinemaScore, which polls audiences in theaters nationwide. For its domestic box office, it has grossed over $34 million, adding to the $64 million worldwide total.

“Yeah, I’m very, very excited,” Godzilla Minus One director Takashi Yamazaki tells Nerd Reactor before the film’s release in the States. “I got a taste of it at the [L.A.] premiere. And I really can’t wait to see what the reactions are on a larger scale for North America. You know, this is my first time I’m like really officially releasing a film formally in North America. So I’m really excited about what the fan reaction will be.”

Courtesy of Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibili’s The Boy and the Heron has also been doing well, receiving an A- CinemaScore and a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. The animated film has become the animation studios’ highest-grossing film at the North American box office with over $23 million. It has also become the highest-grossing original (non-franchise IP) Japanese animated feature in North America.

The Boy and the Heron surpasses Ponyo’s $15.7 million, director Hayao Miyazakis’ previous highest-grossing film in the States.

About The Boy and the Heron

The hand-drawn, animated feature marks the return of Miyazaki since The Wind Rises, which was released 10 years ago.

The English voice cast includes Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, Gemma Chan, Willem Dafoe, Karen Fukuhara, Robert Pattinson, and Florence Pugh.

The film has been nominated for Best Feature – Animated and Best Original Score at the Golden Globes, Best Animated Feature at the HCA’s Astra Awards, Critic’s Choice Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, Chicago Film Critics Association, and Boston Film Critics Association.

The story is written and directed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, produced by co-founder Toshio Suzuki, and the score is composed by Joe Hisaishi. Its theme song, “Spinning Globe,” was written and performed by global J-pop superstar Kenshi Yonezu.

“The Boy and The Heron” (GKids)