'The Secret World of Arrietty' Wows Japan With $8.1 Million U.S. Opening

7:36 AM PST 02/21/2012 by Gavin J. Blair
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The film is by far the biggest stateside success for a Studio Ghibli animation.

TOKYO – The $8.1 million opening weekend in the US for The Secret World of Arrietty is by far the biggest stateside bow for a Studio Ghibli animation, and is making headlines in Japan.

Karigurashi no Arrietty, as it’s known in Japan, opened on 1,522 screens and finished the President’s Day weekend in eighth spot. The Tokyo-set reimagining of English author Mary Norton's The Borrowers was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi

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Studio Ghibli’s website in Japan posted a message celebrating the opening and thanking Disney, which released the dubbed version in the U.S. and has been cooperating with Hayao Miyazaki’s animation house for years, for its support.

By way of comparison, Ghibli’s Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), which went on to win the Academy Award for best animated feature, opened on only a couple dozen screens in 2002, pulling in less than $500,000 on its opening three-day bow in the America. It finished with more than $10 million after its Oscar win, though this was dwarfed by its record-breaking $230 million takings in Japan.

The Secret World of Arrietty was released in July 2010 in Japan and took 9.2 billion yen ($115 million), the highest grossing domestic film of the year.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair

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