Ponyo Surpasses $100 Million in Japan

Courtesy of GhibliWorld, we see that Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea has surpassed 10 Billion Yen, or roughly $100 million. This feat was achieved in only 31 days, and bodes very well for its continued success. While it's true that American blockbusters can surpass the $100M mark in a few days, that is due to a much larger population and thousands of screens. Japan has one third as many people, and only a tenth the number of movie screens.

All of which means Miyazaki has created another monster hit in his home country. Nobody, I'm sure, has any idea how far Ponyo will go. Within a few more weeks, it should share that same exclusive spotlight with Mononoke, Sen, and Howl as Japan's monster hits.


David said...

It is thrilling to read that Miyazaki has created another hit film , and as you say it bodes well for a sooner-rather-than-later North American release by Disney/Pixar (I can only hope for a theatrical release, but I will be satisfied to have a good DVD release).

Do you know the budget for Ponyo ? I remember being pleasantly shocked when I read that the budget for Spirited Away was equivalent to about $19.4 million dollars . It is such a lush, beautifully animated film, but made for $19.4 million at a time when Disney was spending between $85 million to $120 million on their own hand-drawn animated films. The least expensive Disney movie of that period was Lilo & Stitch which cost $79 million (and I'll argue that Lilo was the best Disney movie of that period. So, throwing a lot of money at something doesn't necessarily make it a better film). It is a bit mind-boggling that Spirited Away was made for such a comparatively low budget .

If Ponyo was made for a similar budget or anything under $30 million dollars it is of course well on it's way to being a huge financial success . The Disney , Pixar, Dreamworks films still carry these huge production budgets (I thought CG was supposed to be making everything faster and cheaper ? Oh, well..) of anywhere from $100 million -to - $180 million (Wall-E) and this puts a heavy burden on those films to rake in huge sums at the box-office before they begin to show a modest profit.

Alejandro said...

Hello David (and the other 199 Ghibli fans). First of all: congratulations! I just came across your excellent blog and I am thrilled to find a "brother in arms" out there. Although I do not have a blog of my own (I just don't seem to have the patience), I've been privately praising and promoting Miyazaki and Takahata films (and many others) among Mexicans for the last ten years. (I've loved them since I discovered Totoro when I was 12.) Sadly, the Disney canon predominates (while anime only means Dragonball or Ghost in the Shell). People remain adamant in their ignorance and bad taste. But the cause must continue! I'd like to share my views and opinions with you, but I don't find your e-mail address. Can I write?

Anyway, I don't know much about Ponyo's earnings, but I do know about the film, which I just watched in Japanese (thanks to torrents). I enjoyed it very much. Miyazaki's touch is present from beginning to end. Although it's obviously not one of his greatest or more compelling movies, it is one of the most charming, "child" oriented and certainly the most humble up to date. The story is clear and straightforward -Western audiences will feel comfortable, I think- and lasts only 90 minutes. You can get the point even if you do not understand the language.

Everything was hand-drawn, the characters' lines are "flexible" and the look is therefore very "lively", like in a coloring book.

Some ideas have already been used by Miyazaki in the past, especially in Panda Kopanda. (The tune is equally catchy, by the way.) The feeling is therefore kind of "traditional", sometimes even anachronic; one wonders if Japan's (and the world's) contemporary youth will manage to relate with Miyazaki's postwar values and ideas about childhood goodness. (Your regular Pokemon kid is certainly no Heidi in the Alps.)

Anyway, there's much to discuss but I guess I'll just have to wait until the translation comes out. Enjoy and be moved by the way Ponyo befriends humanity and learns to say her name, which is just damn cute. Just don't expect a magnum opus. Oh, and please don't talk about "Miyazaki's Little Mermaid". I still have trouble convincing people that Spirited Away was something more than just a Japanese cover of Alice in Wonderland.

Geoff said...

To get people to watch Spirited Away I actually tell them it's kind of like Alice in Wonderland to try and convince them to watch it.

Then after they watch the movie they go "that wasn't much like Alice in Wonderland at all, but I really liked it anyway", to which I respond "I know, but aren't you glad I lied to you?"


Brian said...


Have you heard about the exhibit in San Francisco for the Totoro Forest Project. The exhibit is at the Cartoon Art Museum and runs from from September 20, 2008 through February 8, 2009.

More info here:

Sorry for the OT post, but I could not find an email address for you.

Love the blog.


David said...

So , really : does anyone know how much Ponyo cost ? What was the production budget ?

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