Giratina and the Sky Bouquet came in a close second place on its opening day in Japanese box offices, earning $7.3 million dollars, while Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, came in first with $8.2 million. Both movies had the same opening day of July 19th. Ponyo was released in 481 theaters, while Pokemon was only released in 359.
Considering that Studio Ghibli’s films go back to the early 1980s and target a wider and more dedicated audience, while Pokemon’s movies only go back to 1998 and focus on a “constantly renewable” younger age group, it is quite amazing it was able to perform so well. Not only that, but this was apparently the first Hayao Miyazaki film to ever have a noticeable amount of empty seats (as Heerosferret even said herself in her movie report). Pokemon must have had a hand in taking away many of those seats, since this was the first time a Pokemon film went directly against a Hayao Miyazaki film on opening day. Needless to say, Ponyo did not perform as well as predicted, and Pokemon was obviously the culprit responsible.
Both films (Ponyo and Shaymin) will certainly be something to watch when they are released in America. Ponyo will come out sometime in 2009 to theaters and Pokemon will go straight to a cheap DVD and premiere on Cartoon Network. The latter is a shame, since the Pokemon films have improved astronomically since they were last shown in theaters. It doesn’t seem like we give them the respect they deserve here in America.
Maybe this would be the opportunity to petition Pokemon USA to put the movies back in theaters, at least just for the Shaymin movie, and at least just for a limited release. I mean, if Diamond and Pearl are so popular and sell so well, the television show is constantly ranking high, and the movie premieres on Cartoon Network give the channel the highest rankings, what’s holding Pokemon USA back from cashing in? I don’t know any other time in Pokemon’s history when it has been this popular in America, besides during the “fad” era, so why not take advantage of the situation and see how the movie performs in theaters? If Ponyo, a film that is being given a wide release, a film that is aimed at children more than Shaymin is, and a film that is from a company mainstream America does not know much about, why can’t Pokemon, a well-known franchise, be shown in theaters as well? Gas prices are keeping people where they are for a long time anyways, and all the news reports say people are flocking to the theaters as a result, so there is even more reason. But that’s just my opinion and assessment of the situation. I just think that if Ponyo can get a wide release, Pokemon can/should too. ;)