Monday Box Office Report

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?


hjg said...

I suspect that we Ghibli fans, no matter how devoted, will always be a minority, with a small influence on box office numbers. Just my impression.

BTW, you might like this.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Yes! That's a great story on NPR. It's inspired a couple essay ideas, in fact. Thanks for sharing, Jimsy!

I cannot quit on the idea of building this little community of ours. If I gave in to apathy (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Transformers 2), I wouldn't be writing this blog or pushing others to see these movies. I never expect all others to agree with me, but the community of Ghibli Freaks can and should grow. The squares will learn the score sooner or later.

Doug said...

Regarding the box office numbers this strikes me ... we're in the midst of a pretty steep recession (though we're told we're coming out of it now). I don't know how many people are taking chances on the unknowns at the theaters, which Ghibli surely must be. People flock to the sure things in times like this (my own theory)and summertime "big" films always seem to draw people in. I can't think of a single film that I'm hepped up on seeing besides Ponyo but that's just me. Ponyo is my "sure thing".

I'm thinking that this whole Ghibli awareness is less like a stir fry and more like a stew. It takes more time to cook and hopefully sticks with you longer. Afterall, Americans are pretty resistant to change and really are quite conservative in our tastes. Change takes a l-o-n-g time.

I liken it to NBC's decision to stick with Seinfeld after the first season which was pretty low in the ratings. Vision and foresight kept that series going to the point where now its considered one of the finest comedies ever. Lasseter's dogged stubborness and love of Ghibli (as well as many other important people in the animation field)will hopefully keep Ghibli in the American consciousness long enough for it to become less art-house and more the entertainment powerhouse it is in Japan. I'm hopeful, cautiously so.

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