“The Secret World of Arrietty” begins with adventurous 14-year-old Arrietty, who comes from a traditional family in which mother and father assume their timehonored
roles and children grow up under their parents' supervision. However, they are a family of tiny people who
live under the floor of an old house and survive by "borrowing" the things they need from human beings. These tiny people live carefully so as to never be seen by humans. Their way of life, which is full of wisdom and inspiration, has much in common with the way humans used to live.
Most of the things they borrow are raw materials. The family works together to modify the materials to suit their needs. Tiny people do not practice magic to achieve their borrowing objectives. They do it the old fashioned way, by getting what they need with their own ingenuity, using ropes and duct tape to climb up and down the walls and furniture. The story starts on an ordinary day in the lives of these tiny people. Then, Arrietty, a curious and sensitive girl, meets a human boy. Their friendship develops, but in the end, they are forced to go their separate ways. The tiny people must flee to the
wilderness in order to be free from the dangers of callous humans.
||February 17th, 2012 (Wide) by Walt Disney, released as The Secret World of Arrietty|
||May 22nd, 2012 by Buena Vista Home Entertainment|
(Rating bulletin 2194, 10/19/2011)
||Voiceover/Narration, Coming of Age, Kidnap, Rescue, Anime, Tiny Worlds|
|Source:||Based on Fiction Book/Short Story|
|Production Method:||Hand Animation|
||Studio Ghibli, Nippon Television Network, Dentsu Inc., Hakuhoda, DY Media Partners, Walt Disney Japan, Mitsubishi, Toho Co, Wild Bunch|
True Blood was the only major release on this week's DVD sales chart crushing newcomers and holdovers alike. It sold 717,000 units / $21.52 million during its opening week, which is fantastic for a TV on DVD release.
New releases took the top four spots in the Blu-ray sales chart. Red Tails took first place with 446,000 units / $10.25 million for a 48% opening week Blu-ray share. The film was expensive to make and it didn't perform well enough in theaters, but its home market numbers are better.
After a major change on the back end of site, we have two weeks of home market numbers to get to, starting with the week ending on May 20th. New releases dominated the chart taking the top three spots and four of the top six. The Grey earned first place with 360,000 units / $6.12 million. This is a fine start given its theatrical run, but not an exceptional one.
It's a strange week on the home market. There are not a lot of films on this week's list, but there are more first run releases than normal, while we are also moving into the summer TV schedule, so a lot of those shows are getting home market releases this week, in preparation for their upcoming seasons. The list is top-heavy, not very deep, and lacks contenders for for Pick of the Week. The Secret World of Arrietty is the best release and the Blu-ray looks amazing, but there are not a lot of extras to be found. Likewise, Sherlock: Season Two is a great show, but the DVD and Blu-ray don't have a lot of extras, plus the price-per-minute is rather high for a TV on DVD release. I have high hopes for The Woman in Black, but the screener is late. In the end I'm going with The Secret World of Arrietty, but the other two are Honorable Mentions.
2012 has been an excellent year for movies. Not only have we had far more hits than most years past, we've also had a lot more high quality movies than we normally have at this time of year. One of the very early releases that pleased critics was The Secret World of Arrietty, which is the latest from Studio Ghibli, which is one of the best animation studios in the world. It's no surprise the film earned critical praise, but it wasn't able to find breakout success at the box office. (Anime films rarely open truly wide, so this is not a surprise.) Should moviegoers give it a shot now that it is out on the home market? Should fans of the genre in general or of Studio Ghibli's past work in particular pick it up?
There was a surprise winner at the box office this weekend as Act of Valor opened on the very high end of expectations while Good Deeds did the opposite. Overall, more films missed expectations than met them and this led to a 14% drop-off from last week. However, the total haul of $134 million was still 23% higher than the same weekend last year, which stretches the winning streak to eight weeks. Or to put it another way, every single weekend this year has been higher than the corresponding weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2012 is ahead of last year's pace by 18% at $1.62 billion to $1.38 billion. There is some bad news going forward, as I don't think March 2012 is as strong as March 2011.
Two of the three wide releases missed expectations and the best of the bunch, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, only managed third place over the weekend. However, the overall box office still pulled out a win in the year-over-year comparison. The box office did fall 19% from last weekend to $156 million, but this was 8% higher than the same weekend last year, which is much more important. The lead over last year grew to over $200 million at $1.46 billion to $1.23 billion, or 18%. Granted, it is still too early to celebrate, but so far the year-over-year numbers are fantastic while next weekend it looks even better.
A tight battle is brewing for box office honors this weekend, based on the studios' Sunday estimates. Safe House is currently ahead, with Universal predicting a $24 million 3-day weekend. The Vow runs in second place with $23.6 million according to Sony, which also has Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in third place with $22 million. Adding to the uncertainty, the most family-friendly film in the top ten, Journey 2: Mysterious Island is only a few million back, with Warner Bros. projecting it will make $20.1 million through Sunday. Overall, it looks as though Safe House will win both the 3-day and 4-day races, although Journey 2 could win Monday.
We enter Presidents Day long weekend with a substantial lead on 2011. (Although we are way behind 2010's and even 2009's pace. I choose to focus on the positive.) There are some good signs going into this weekend. Depending on who you talk to, there are two or three films that could hit $20 million over the three-day weekend and five or six that could reach $10 million. The best new release of the week, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance could make more than $30 million over three days and $40 million over four. There is some bad news, as this weekend last year was also pretty potent with six films earning more than $10 million over the three-day weekend. However, 2012 has better strength at the top, which should help it earn yet another win.
2012 got off to a great start, with January earning four wins in a row in the year-over-year comparison and finishing the month with a double-digit lead over 2011's pace. This has made me very hopeful going forward. That said, there are fourteen films opening wide or being re-released wide in February, and I don't think there's a $100 million hit in the group. In fact, I don't think any will get all that close to the century mark. There are several that should be solid mid-level hits and with a little luck, half of them could reached $50 million and there are five that could reach $75 million. Last February, Just Go With It topped $100 million while Gnomeo and Juliet came within $33,000 of doing the same. We won't replicate that this year, so we have to hope for a lot more depth. If films like Safe House, Journey 2, Ghost Rider 2, The Phantom Menace: 3D and The Vow all meet expectations, then perhaps 2012 will continue its hot start.
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