Box Office Mojo has the Monday box office numbers, and Ponyo continues to hold steady. It continues to hold 9th place with $559, 321, at a per-screen average of $603. This brings the total to $4, 145, 173.
The good news is that Ponyo will easily surpass the US numbers for Howl's Moving Castle. If the rest of the week's take is like Monday's, then we'll be sitting at just over $6 million heading into the weekend. That weekend will prove absolutely critical. Will word-of-mouth have any effect? What are the parents who attended this weekend telling their friends? Where is the anime community, and will they turn out again? How many Ghibli Freaks will be paying for that second and third trip?
The only new movie opening on August 21 that directly threatens Ponyo is Shorts, the new Robert Rodriguez movie that strongly resembles Spy Kids. It looks fake and plastic and formulaic. It's going to make a ton of money.
Personally, I don't believe any of that matters. Either Ponyo has legs or it doesn't. Either the devoted Miyazaki fans are out there or they're not. We've been telling ourselves that Studio Ghibli has been slowly growing in America, at the grassroots level, almost person to person. Well, we've had several years of buying and sharing the DVDs and telling ourselves we were a growing community. Is any of that true? Or are we just fooling ourselves, and we're just as small and scattered as ever? That's the big question at the moment.
So the bottom line is this: either Ponyo continues to hold the slow and steady course, or it sinks like a stone. I can't believe we have to struggle to break Spirited Away's $10 million mark. C'mon, you know it in your heart. We should have shattered that goal already. Grrr. Now we'll be lucky to reach that goal.
So, everybody, what are your expectations? What happens to Ponyo between now and next Monday? And is there anything that we can do about it?