Wednesday and Thursday Box Office Update

We are now entering weekend #3 for Ponyo, and it does appear that we will break that crucial $10 million record!  Yaayy!  I think I'll head out today and see it again at the Edina Lagoon.  For now, however, let's get caught up with the Box Office Mojo numbers from Wednesday and Thursday.  The movie is holding very steady, just rumbling in the background at its own pace.

So the question now becomes, when Ponyo breaks $10 million, did its box office performance live up to your expectations?  Was there anything that could have been done differently?  Would it have helped to place the previews alongside some different movies, like UP or Harry Potter?  Would it have helped if Disney released some subtitled prints in the major cities?  Was there really a "backlash" at all, and how did the great anime community respond to Ponyo?  I'm curious to hear everyone's ideas.

As for me, I'm going to play the aspiring optimist and call Ponyo a success in the States.

Wednesday 8/26
Daily: $254,130
Per Screen: $274
Total: $8909,861

Thursday 8/27
Daily: $235,474
Per Screen: $254
Total: $9,145,335


Geoff said...

They definitely should have shown a trailer of the movie before "Up". I was pretty disappointed and baffled that they didn't. Up had the market they were going for, kids and parents would want to take their kids to something that they might enjoy.

Keenan said...

Yeah, I initially went to see UP because I was hoping to see a trailer for Ponyo. Would a made sense I thought, not only for the audience, but also since Pixar is the one mostly responsible for bringing Ponyo to the big screen.

korman643 said...

Given this Friday results, it's safe to say that Ponyo will pass the 14M$ mark before the end of his run. However, I we may get some nice suprise, at there are signs the movie has decent legs (actually quite unsuprising considering the w.o.m)

returnofthesmith said...

Disney definately treated this film as a small arthouse release. They didnt have the confidence to show it at 2000+ screens and give it the marketing push it really needed to be a hit. A film like this can't just work on word of mouth alone, its needs the marketing that present it as a must see event.

I think Disney may not have cared to much, because they want their own "princess and the frog" to be the big 2d animated hit for the year. They want to be the pioneers that decided to bring back the 2d artform. If Ponyo was a hit, people may have realised that they arent the only ones.

I am going to see Ponyo today in Australia. So excited, even though its getting a even worse treament in this country.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

@return: It's tough to say what Disney's expectations were, but politics always plays a role in these matters. I'm sure Princess and the Frog influenced matters to a degree, but perhaps they were afraid that a large-scale Ponyo flop would damage that chances for their movie.

I don't think there's this great rush to return to hand-drawn animation. Among the Hollywood conglomerates, "hand-drawn" means "old," and not a money maker to compete with CGI.

I strongly suspect John Lasseter is the kingmaker for Disney's return to form. On his first day at the Disney headquarters after the Pixar merger, he proudly announced to the crowd, "Disney will return to hand-drawn animation!" He was met with thunderous applause.

Good luck seeing Ponyo in Australia. Have a lot of fun, and see it at least twice! You'll be glad you did.

returnofthesmith said...

So i just got back from Ponyo. Wow. What an amazing film, i will definately be going to a second viewing. Out of such a bright and colourful film, funnily enough my favourite sequence is when Sosuke visited the Old folks home during the storm. The colour and mood of that sequence was phenomenal.

The session was completely sold out (a sign that 2 screenings a day is not nearly enough) and the crowd were quite varied. From couples in their 20s to families with young children. You could tell the audience was engaged from the first frame. Adults and kids alike laughed and gasped at all the right moments (some kids were even jumping up and down in excitement) and everyone was raving about it on the way out. I even heard the cinema staff talking about how badly they wanted to see it.

I think this was a major stuff up on the part of Disney, this film should have been a wide release, audiences are clearly loving it (as did my friends who would have never seen it if it wasn't for me)

I'm still buzzed, and can not wait to see it again!

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

@return: That's fantastic! I'm glad you were able to see Ponyo in a packed theater. I would hope that there would be more showings of the picture, especially if there are more sold-out shows.

The best thing you can do is bring friends and family with you to see Ponyo again, and ask the theater for more shows. I'm sure if there is a demand, they will be willing to listen.

korman643 said...

Weekends estimates are out, Ponyo grossed $1,958,000 on 880 theatres, raising its tally to $11,103,000, with an amazing little drop of -19.3%. The PTA is $2,225.
I believe that now 15M$ is lock. BTW, Ponyo is now the biggest grossing Miyazaki release in the US.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Thanks! I can't get on Box Office Mojo at all this weekend; there's nothing but errors on their home page, and I can go no further.

This is excellent news!

I wonder what would happen if Disney made a new push for Ponyo, or expanded the number of screens? This movie has sustained itself remarkably. Instead of barely limping to $10 million, now $15 million is a confident goal.

Are there still people who haven't seen Ponyo, but have wanted to go? How many are still planning that second viewing?

This gives me great confidence for Ponyo's performance when it is released on DVD and Blu-Ray later this year. We have to take our victories in small steps, but this has clearly become a great step forward.

korman643 said...


I haven't done serious BO analysis in 6 years (and btw family entertainmnet has its own specific analysis models), but I think tgat, given Ponyo's demographics and the fact that we're only at the third weekend, what we're seeing is just the good word of mouth kickin in (i.e. people who didn't intend initially to see the movie are lured into seeing it by what they hear/read about it). I've no idea what is the number of potential viewers for this type of movie (and there are obvious side questions like, was it released mainly in urban areas or not etc.) Of course, if wom expands again and Ponyo's legs gets notices by the media, more people will go to see it etc.

Ponyo main demographic are little kids, who normally need someone to chaperone them in theatres, so they normally make lousy repeated viewers (teens or young adults are obviously better for that). But there's of course a sizeable part of its potential audience that are made by anime enthusiasts, and THOSE may trigger great repeated business. It's however something that we're going to see no earlier than a couple of week from now.

# of screens and by consequence PTA is all in Disney's hand. It has all to do with what plans they have for Oscar seasons, when the DVD will be released, internal competition (Princess & the Frog?) and many other factors that are difficult to decide right now. Maybe there's some House Mouse expert here that may give you a better idea of this.

asuka said...

yay for ponyo's performance!
i've been reading some of the newer reviews on "rotten tomatoes". it amazes me how unsophisticated so many reviewers are about japanese animation. we're talking decades at this point since anime entered the western mainstream, yes?, and you still have reviewers - people who work as reviewers - who feel the need to make comments along the lines of: "isn't it strange that these are japanese cartoon characters - and yet they don't have slitty eyes at all?!"
(i'm exaggerating in the way i express it, but not much.)

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

@korman643: Yes, we need some Disney experts on this blog! Somebody who knows the ins and outs of this.

I just got back from my third viewing today, and the Edina Lagoon had a great turnout. There were around 25-30 people in attendance. This may sound small, but it's the same numbers I saw on its first weekend, and indie movies NEVER have any turnout on its third weekend. By the time of my third and fourth viewing of Howl's Moving Castle, I was lucky to find more than 1 or 2 people in the theater with me.

Most of the audience were parents and children, but there were older kids and couples as well. That really impressed me. And the kids were just captivated from start to finish.

Interesting side note: we all hustled out of the theater at the closing credits, so we wouldn't have to deal with the hideous Autotune music. Yuck! Disney just couldn't let those kids sing a simple song.

I'd be VERY interested to know Disney's strategy for Ponyo.

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