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Earthsea Scores Big in Japan

Date: 2006 August 05 11:40

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Tales From Earthsea tops Pirates of the Caribbean at Japanese box office.

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No one was sure how anime fans in Japan would react to Gedo Senki (Tales From Earthsea), the directorial debut of Goro Miyazaki, son of famed director Hayao Miyazaki. The question was answered when the film topped Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest at the Japanese box office on the day of its debut. Thus proving the younger Miyazaki's talents as a director and possibly paving the way for his career.

There has been much controversy surrounding the film. Not for its story, which is based on the third volume of the Tales From Earthsea fantasy series by Ursula K. LeGuin, but for the feud it raised between the elder and younger Miyazakis. Hayao Miyazaki, who helmed such now-classic films as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away, was opposed to his son's hiring as director of the film (ironically enough, the elder Miyazaki had wanted to do his own film adaptation of the Earthsea series; he was turned down by LeGuin), citing Goro's lack of experience as an animator. Goro Miyazaki, however, remained determined to do the film, refusing any help from his father and finishing it on schedule.

The strong opening of Gedo Senki indicates good things for the film. Toho, which is distributing the movie, expects it to earn somewhere in the 10 billion yen range during its Japanese run, putting it in the middle in terms of recent Studio Ghibli films. The film is also expected to make a quick arrival in the U.S. through Disney/Buena Vista, which has the rights to the Ghibli films, even though the studio tends to take more time in preparing their anime releases than most other American companies. There has been no word of Hayao Miyazaki's reaction to his son’s success or whether or not the rift between the two has mended in any way.

Source: ICv2
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