Magazine article Screen International

Miyazaki Classic 'Spirited Away' Trounces 'Toy Story 4' at China Box Office

Magazine article Screen International

Miyazaki Classic 'Spirited Away' Trounces 'Toy Story 4' at China Box Office

Article excerpt

Re-release of 2001 Studio Ghibli classic has grossed $27.9m in its first three days.

Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 classic Spirited Away topped the Chinese box office over its opening three-day weekend, grossing more than twice the opening of Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4.

Spirited Away grossed $27.9m in its first three days (June 21-23), according to EntGroup figures, with China Film Group overseeing the Chinese release. In comparison, Toy Story 4 came in second over the weekend with a gross of $13.4m during the same three-day period.

Both films are tracking strongly on user review platforms, with Spirited Away scoring a 9.4 rating on Maoyan and 9.3 on Douban, while Toy Story 4 has a rating of 9.2 on Maoyan and 8.9 on Douban. However, Chinese exhibitors have given more than 30% of screening space to Spirited Away, with Toy Story 4 receiving 16.3% of screenings. Some industry observers interpret this as a reaction against US films as the US-China trade war escalates.

However, there are no surprises in the strong results for Spirited Away, as the works of Miyazaki are held in high regard by Chinese audiences, who would have watched pirated versions at the time of their release, but have never had a chance to see them in cinemas.

Produced by Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli, Spirited Away grossed $230m in Japan when it was first released over summer 2001, followed by $10m at the North American box office in 2002. It didn’t receive a theatrical release in China, due to political tensions between the Chinese and Japanese governments, and the fact that the Chinese market was much smaller in 2001. …

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