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The Boy and the Heron tops domestic box office while Hunger Games and Godzilla remain strong

It's an unusual-looking box office ahead of Christmas.

The Boy and the Heron
Image credit: Studio Ghibli

The fall box office in the US keeps surprising everyone as we approach the Christmas period. After Godzilla Minus One's spectacular debut and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes leaving behind Disney's two big bets for the season, The Marvels and Wish, thanks to superb legs, Hayao Miyazaki's The Boy and the Heron has showed up with record-breaking numbers.

Despite the unusually mysterious marketing campaign in Japan and slow rollout across international territories, The Boy and the Heron, a new coming-of-age story from Hayao Miyazaki, earned $12.8 million in its opening weekend in the US. The uncommon box office conditions allowed it to become the first original anime production to top the domestic box office. Since the GKids-distributed release is showing in IMAX and other premium formats, its numbers were boosted. The absence of Wonka and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in North American cinemas definitely helped too.

Beyond the new Studio Ghibli release, things are looking weird too, with the Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes retaining the second spot with $9.4 million and showing once again it's got exceptional legs despite a simply adequate start back in November; the total now stands at $135.6 million. Behind it came Godzilla Minus One with a second-weekend haul of $8.3 million, upping its total to $25.3 million and making it the highest-grossing live-action Japanese movie to ever be released in North America. The fourth spot went to Trolls Band Together, earning $6.2 million and bringing the total to $83.1 million. Not as positive is Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé tumbling with just $5 million, a sharp 77% drop which signals it can't match the staying power of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour. So far, Renaissance has earned around $28 million domestically.

Against most expectations going into the fall season, Disney continues disappoint, with neither Wish nor The Marvels having a remarkable presence at the box office. The former raked in only $5.3 million this weekend; its total barely cracking $50 million so far in the US. As for Marvel Studios' latest, only $1.3 million were added to the dismaying domestic total, which sits around $83 million. Disney won't have another tentpole release out in cinemas until Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes opens on May 24, 2024. Ouch.


As the year wind downs, it's time to look back and all you've read and watched. Popverse has picked the best movies, best comics, and best TV shows of the year.

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