The Secret World of Arrietty did the unexpected and gained $8.1 million on it’s opening weekend in the States. This is the biggest take for the animators Studio Ghibli to date for a stateside release, making headlines in Japan.
This is impressive because when compared to Spirited Away; another animation by Studio Ghibli; the film only took home half a million stateside on its opening three day bow. While the film itself had earned a record breaking $230 million in Japan, it only ended up with $10 million in America.
Studio Ghibli attributes their success in the united states to Disney, who released the dubbed version. This was openly communicated on the official website for Studio Ghibli in Japan.
The Secret World of Arrietty, which is known as Karigurashi no Arrietty in Japan, opened on over 1500 screens and finished the weekend in eighth spot. The film was first released in Japan, July 2010 and took $115 million home, the highest grossing domestic film that year. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the inspiration for the film was drawn from The Borrowers, written by English author Mary Norton; the creator of Disney classic Bedknobs & Broomsticks!
The Borrowers which was first published in 1952, is the first in a series of children fantasy novels. The stories are about tiny people who infest the homes of normal people, often scavenging for supplies. According to the books, they “borrow” things to survive while ensuring that the world stays ignorant of their existence. We have that too in the real world, the little people are often just the homeless that are cracked out on drugs they bought pawning “borrowed” goods.
The story goes on to tell a story about Arrietty Clock, the spirited teenager of the tiny people variety. From what I can see in the movie adaptation, she becomes friends with a human who’s discovered her existence. Instead of being sentenced to death for violating the masquerade, they carry on their friendship despite the cultural hurdles they face; size does matter. I believe they made a live action movie in 1997 starring John Goodman also called “The Borrowers.”
Now that I think of it, I remember an animation on television which also became a movie. It was called The Littles. It too was adapted from a series of children’s novels written by John Peterson, this time an American author in 1967. Hmmmm… Curiouser and curiouser. The Littles were also a family of tiny people; with mouse like features such as tails, teeth and ears; that infested the home of the Bigg family; har har. They built wacky contraptions from household items to aid in their survival. Having been discovered by one of the Bigg children, they form a trusting relationship which allows them to mooch off the humans more efficiently. Wow. Someone’s been doing some borrowing themselves writing this.
What is it with these remakes of British entertainment? Do people somehow believe that things seen in the UK will be seen as fresh and new ideas in the states? They take great ideas and make these bastardizations that make me cringe. How do people get away with this? It’s not like I can go and pitch an idea about angst filled teens on probation with superpowers and not get caught!
Gah! It’s like my mind refuses to accept this. Watch the trailer for The Secret World of Arrietty below: