Studio Ghibli Takes a Bow at Cannes with an Honorary Palme D’Or 

Goro Miyazaki, left, and Kenichi Yoda pose for photographers with the Studio Ghibli honorary Palme d'Or upon arrival at the premiere of the film "The Apprentice" at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2024. (AP)
Goro Miyazaki, left, and Kenichi Yoda pose for photographers with the Studio Ghibli honorary Palme d'Or upon arrival at the premiere of the film "The Apprentice" at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2024. (AP)
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Studio Ghibli Takes a Bow at Cannes with an Honorary Palme D’Or 

Goro Miyazaki, left, and Kenichi Yoda pose for photographers with the Studio Ghibli honorary Palme d'Or upon arrival at the premiere of the film "The Apprentice" at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2024. (AP)
Goro Miyazaki, left, and Kenichi Yoda pose for photographers with the Studio Ghibli honorary Palme d'Or upon arrival at the premiere of the film "The Apprentice" at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 20, 2024. (AP)

Studio Ghibli, the Japanese anime factory of surreal ecological wonders that has for 39 years spirited away moviegoers with tales of Totoros, magical jellyfish and floating castles, was celebrated Monday by the Cannes Film Festival with an honorary Palme d'Or.

In the 22 years that Cannes has been handing out honorary Palmes, the award for Ghibli was the first for anything but an individual filmmaker or actor. (This year's other recipients are George Lucas and Meryl Streep.) Hayao Miyazaki, the 83-year-old animation master who founded Studio Ghibli in 1985 with Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki, didn't attend the ceremony, but he spoke in a video message taped in Japan.

“I don't understand any of this,” said Miyazaki. “But thank you.”

At Cannes, where standing ovations can stretch on end, the fervor that greeted Ghibli's emissaries — Goro Miyazaki (son of Hayao) and Kenichi Yoda — was nevertheless among the most thunderous receptions at the festival. Thierry Fremaux, Cannes' artistic director, walked across the stage of the Grand Théâtre Lumière filming the long ovation, he said, for a video to send to Miyazaki.

“With this Palme d'Or, we'd like to thank you for all the magic you've brought to cinema,” said Iris Knobloch, the president of the festival, presenting the award.

The occasion wasn't marked by any new Ghibli film but four earlier shorts that hadn't previously been shown outside Japan. “Mei and the Baby Cat Bus,” a brief follow-up to Miyazaki's 1989 “My Neighbor Totoro,” expands the Cat Bus of that classic to a whole fleet of cat conveyances, most notably the mini Baby Cat Bus.

The shorts, all of which were made for the Studio Ghibli Museum outside Tokyo, included “Mr. Dough and the Egg Princess,” a culinary-themed desert for Miyazaki's 2001 film “Spirited Away.” The other two — “House Hunting” and “Boro the Caterpillar” — make musical mini-adventures for forest creatures.

The Studio Ghibli celebration came on the heels of Miyazaki's long-awaited “The Boy and the Heron” winning the Academy Award in March for best animated film. (A documentary on its making, “Hayao Miyazaki and the Heron,” also played in Cannes.)

Miyazaki sat out that ceremony, too. Goro Miyazaki, whose own films include “From Up on Poppy Hill” and “Tales From Earthsea,” said they had to use a hotel towel to wrap the Oscar to bring home to his father. On Monday, he was relieved by the portability of the Cannes prize.

“I'm reassured seeing the Palme d'Or was in a box,” he said, grinning.



'Inside Out 2' Scores $100M in its 2nd Weekend, Setting Records

This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)
This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)
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'Inside Out 2' Scores $100M in its 2nd Weekend, Setting Records

This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)
This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)

Weekend number two was just as joyous for “Inside Out 2.”
The Pixar sequel collected $100 million in ticket sales in its second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, setting a new record for an animated movie in its follow-up frame in theaters, The Associated Press reported. The previous best second weekend for an animated title was the $92 million for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” Only six movies ever have had better second weekends.
In just a week and a half, “Inside Out 2” has become 2024’s highest-grossing film to date with $724.4 million globally, including $355.2 million in US and Canadian theaters. That passes the $711.8 million worldwide total of “Dune: Part Two.” “Inside Out 2” will likely blow through the $1 billion mark in about a week, which would make it the first film since “Barbie” to do so.
The extent of the “Inside Out 2” success startled Hollywood, which had grown accustomed to lower expectations as the film industry watched ticket sales this year slump about 40% below pre-pandemic totals, according to data firm Comscore, before “Inside Out 2” came along.
The record haul for “Inside Out 2,” though, recalled past years when $1 billion grosses were more commonplace for the Walt Disney Co. It is also a much-needed blockbuster for Pixar, which after experimenting with direct-to-streaming releases, reconsidered its movie pipeline and approach to mass-audience appeal.
Now, “Inside Out 2,” which dipped a mere 35% from its $154 million domestic debut, is poised to challenge “The Incredibles 2” ($1.2 billion) for the all-time top grossing Pixar release. It could also steer the venerated animation factory toward more sequels. Among its upcoming films is “Toy Story 5,” due out in 2026.
For theater owners, “Inside Out 2” could hardly have been more needed. But it also reminded exhibitors of how feast-or-famine the movie business has become in recent years. Since the pandemic, movies like “Barbie,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Top Gun: Maverick” have pushed ticket sales to record heights, but fallow periods in between box-office sensations have grown longer. Ticket sales over Memorial Day last month were the worst in three decades.
Some of 2024’s downturn can be attributed to release-schedule juggling caused by last year’s writers and actors strikes. The biggest new release over the weekend was Jeff Nichols’ motorcycle gang drama “The Bikeriders,” a film originally slated to open in 2023 before the actors strike prompted its postponement.
“The Bikeriders,” starring Jodie Comer, Austin Butler and Tom Hardy, came in on the high side of expectations with $10 million from 2,642 venues in its opening weekend. “The Bikeriders,” which cost about $35 million to produce, was originally to be released by Disney before New Regency took it to Focus Features last fall.
The strong business for “Inside Out 2” appeared to raise ticket sales generally. Sony Pictures’ “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” held well in its third week of release, collecting $18.8 million. It remained in second place. The “Bad Boys” sequel, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, has grossed $146.9 million domestically thus far.
Next week, the sci-fi horror prequel “A Quiet Place: Day One” and Kevin Costner's Western epic “Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1" will hope some of the “Inside Out 2” success rubs off on them.