'Toy Story 3' opens strong in Japan

Third-highest opening weekend ever for animated film

TOKYO – “Toy Story 3” made a record bow for a Hollywood animation, taking over 977 million yen ($11.2 million) from nearly 650,000 admissions on Saturday and Sunday, knocking the latest “Bayside Shakedown” flick off the top spot after only one weekend, and with a slightly better opening weekend tally.
 
The figures give it the second-biggest opening of the year behind “Alice in Wonderland.”
 
Only two animated films, both Hayao Miyazaki productions from Studio Ghibli, “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Spirited Away,” have ever recorded bigger openings in Japan. Pixar has worked with Studio Ghibli on its U.S. releases, and a Miyazaki character, Totoro, from “My Neighbor Totoro,” makes a cameo in the latest “Toy Story.”
 
The latest Studio Ghibli production, "The Borrower Arrietty," based on the English children’s books, “The Borrowers,” will be released by Toho next weekend, on July 17. The film is the directorial debut of Ghibli animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi – the project was written and executive produced by Miyazaki.
 
Toho, which released its January to June admission figures last week, announced its net profit for the March to May quarter rose 13% to 2.8 billion yen ($32 million).
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