Weekend Box Office Forecast: Will Miyazaki’s THE BOY AND THE HERON Challenge for the Top Spot?

Images courtesy Parkwood Entertainment, Studio Ghibli © 2023

One more relatively quiet weekend is on deck before the holiday season ramps up with the release of Wonka on December 15. First, can Beyoncé repeat atop the box office in Renaissance‘s second frame, or might Hayao Miyazaki’s (supposed) final film contend for the honor?

The Boy and the Heron


December 8, 2023 (WIDE)

Opening Weekend Range: $7M-$13M


  • Marketing frames The Boy and the Heron as the final film from iconic filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, whose illustrious career has included The Wind Rises, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke. (Miyazaki has a history of saying he is retiring from feature films, only to un-retire later on; per a Studio Ghibli executive, that may be the case here as well.) His domestic fan base is driving strong pre-sale activity pacing 135 percent ahead of Suzume‘s Thursday previews earlier this year.
  • Beyoncé’s second weekend engagement of Renaissance should remain a notable presence at the box office following its $21.8 million debut, the biggest post-Thanksgiving weekend opening since The Last Samurai in 2003.
  • Holdovers like The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and Trolls Band Together, alongside holiday-themed re-releases of films like Die hard, Elf and Love Actually, will pad the market.
  • Poor Things will aim to become this week’s standout platform debut as Searchlight opens the Yorgos Lanthimos film at an estimated 9 locations. Freestyle Releasing is also opening The Oath at more than 630 locations.


  • Renaissance will shed a significant portion of premium screens to The Boy and the Heron and a variety of other films at select locations this weekend. The latter is also susceptible to a wide range of expectations due to Miyazaki’s fan base and GKIDS’ limited history with wide releases.
  • With no major studio release on deck, the overall weekend box office will rank among the slowest of 2023. That unfortunate benchmark currently belongs to the frame of September 22-24, which saw grosses reach just $51.9 million across all releases.

Current projection ranges call for a 50% increase from the comparable weekend’s top ten aggregate of $33.3 million in 2022 and a 38% decrease from 2019’s $79.7 million frame.

* denotes a Thursday morning update on Godzilla Minus One

Film Studio 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, December 10 Fri Location Count Projection (as of Wed) 3-Day % Change from Last Wknd
The Boy and the Heron GKIDS $10,200,000 $10,200,000 ~2,100 NEW
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Lionsgate $9,500,000 $135,600,000 ~3,500 -33%
Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé AMC Theatres Distribution $6,300,000 $29,300,000 ~2,539 -71%
Godzilla Minus One Toho International $6,000,000* $22,800,000* ~2,540* -47%*
Trolls Band Together Universal Pictures $6,000,000 $82,900,000 ~3,500 -23%
Wish Disney $5,300,000 $49,300,000 ~3,400 -31%
Napoleon Sony Pictures & Apple $4,500,000 $53,300,000 ~3,300 -38%
The Shift Angel Studios $1,800,000 $8,200,000 ~2,450 -58%
Silent Night Lionsgate $1,500,000 $5,500,000 ~1,870 -50%
Thanksgiving Sony Pictures & TriStar $1,500,000 $30,800,000 ~2,000 -43%

All forecasts are subject to revision/finalization before the first confirmation of opening previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts are either studio estimates OR unofficial projections if preceded by “~”.

The above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.

Images courtesy Parkwood Entertainment, Studio Ghibli © 2023

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