The Boy and the Heron opens to massive numbers at Chinese box office

Chris Tilly
The Boy having dinner with a scary man in The Boy and the Heron.

The Boy and the Hero soared at the Chinese box office over the weekend, opening to a massive $73 million.

UPDATE: Hayao Miyazaki The Boy and the Heron has been a huge hit in his homeland Japan, where it earned over $60 million. And in the US, where the film grossed nearly $50 million.

But the movie has now made even more than those totals in China. The Studio Ghibli production opened over the Qingming holiday – aka Tomb Sweeping Day – which has become a big weekend for moviegoing in the country. And The Boy and the Heron didn’t disappoint, knocking Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire off the top spot with that whopping $73 million haul.

Which means that Miyazaki’s latest will doubtless gross over $100 million in China, on its way to becoming one of the most successful anime movies of all time.

Original story follows…

Legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki ended his retirement this year with How Do You Live?, the writer-director’s first film in a decade.

The animated movie hit Japanese screens last Friday, though we know that it will also release in the US this year under a new title – The Boy and His Heron.

While anticipation has been sky-high for the movie, there was no trailer, images, or even a synopsis, so promotion was thin on the ground. But Miyazaki needn’t have worried, as the movie is a bona fide blockbuster.

How Do You Live? box office – How much has The Boy and the Heron made?

How Do You Live’s profit is currently at $26 million in Japan. The film grossed $13.2 million (1.83 billion yen) over its first weekend, resulting in the biggest ever debut for a Studio Ghibli movie.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie also set an IMAX record by grossing $1.7 million in those first three days.

The outlet adds that Japan can be a slow-burning market, especially when it comes to Studio Ghibli. Howl’s Moving Castle opened with a similar figure to How Do You Live? and ended up grossing nearly $200 million over more than 400 days. So expect this one to run-and-run.

Especially as reactions have universally positive, with barely a dissenting voice in our review round-up.

What is How Do You Live? / The Boy and the Heron about?

Although the release of How Do You Live?/The Boy and the Heron has been shrouded in secrecy, here’s an overview of the plot, from a review by the AnimeNewsNetwork. Though obviously, SPOILERS AHEAD

“Our hero, Mahito, is a good kid – obedient and polite. But while he’s respectful to his aunt and the numerous elderly people she takes care of, he is self-destructing on the inside. What he wants is the old life he had in Tokyo with his father and mother – not this one in a new place where he knows no one and his father is already making a new family with his aunt.

“At first, he lashes out at himself – getting in a fight after school and then causing himself a gushing head wound so he doesn’t have to go back. Then, he moves on to lash out at something that can’t fight back – the blue heron living in a neighboring pond. The message here is clear. These are obvious outward signs of a troubled kid – both then and now. Pain and grief are universal things – and only by recognizing the signs can we help those in need.

“The film, for all its fantastical trappings, is the story of Mahito coming to accept what he still has – and fighting to make sure nothing more is taken away from him.”

For more Ghibli click here. While for our ranking of the studio’s movies, head here.