Japanese "Howl" for Miyazaki

Posted by: Aaron West on November 23, 2004

Celebrated animation director, Hideo Miyazaki set a Japanese box office record over this past weekend. In two days, 1.1 million people attended Howl’s Moving Castle, giving his most recent film an estimated $14.6 million weekend take.

Miyazaki’s last film, Oscar winning Spirited Away, took in $8,898,000 during its first weekend and went on to gross over $230 million during its theatrical run. Spirited Away didn't fare nearly as well in the United States, even with the Oscar buzz and Disney backing, taking in a measly $10 million. Having established a considerable cult following with his previous hit, we can be fairly sure that “Howl” will perform better than his last effort.

“Howl” is Miyazaki’s adaptation of a book by Diana Wynne Jones, where a young girl is transformed into a 90-year old lady by a witch and sequestered in a moving castle. The mystical fairy-tale-like premise, reminiscent of the Harry Potter franchise, should also help Howl’s performance in the states. Disney, who handles all of Miyazaki’s films, will be releasing the new picture domestically sometime next year.

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