Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s latest film for Studio Ghibli, ‘When Marnie Was There’, has failed to do good business in its opening week in cinemas, according to Crunchyroll.
Ghibli’s newest anime movie opened on 19 July, and is based on British author Joan G. Robinson’s novel of the same name. It’s a tale of loneliness and centres on a little girl, Anna, and a ghost she befriends.
The film opened on 461 screens and only took 379 million yen (just over £2 million). What’s more, it had to settle for the third spot in the box office chart behind Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ in second, and ’ Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction’ in first.
In fact, Yonebayashi’s prior anime feature, ‘The Secret World of Arrietty’ did significantly better upon its release a few years ago. ‘Marnie’ has failed to do even half as well as ‘Arrietty’ when it was released in 2010. At the time, that took 900 million yen in its opening weekend, shifting 680,000 tickets compared to around 285,000 this time.
The weird thing is, ‘When Marnie Was There’ looks like a genuinely lovely film. It’s got all the ingredients that often spells success for the company, with its gorgeous animation and touching story. The fact that it’s not directed by Hayao Miyazaki will likely play a part in why it wasn’t as well received as his Oscar-nominated picture ‘The Wind Rises’.
The poor performance of Ghibli’s latest could be down to a number of reasons, but with recent rumours that the film production division is set to cease operating, this now appears to be something to be concerned over. In a recent podcast, former producer Toshio Suzuki said that the future of the company actually hinged on whether ‘When Marnie Was There’ was a success, so only time will tell what the founders intend too do production-wise.