The 10 highest grossing anime movies of all time

The 10 highest grossing anime movies of all time

Two tickets to the highest grossing anime movie of all time, please.

Over the years, Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli has dominated the anime box office with feature films such as Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away. These four films are among the top 10 highest grossing anime films worldwide and have grossed millions of dollars since their release.

New contenders in the anime blockbuster scene, Makoto Shinkai’s latest work Your Name and Weathering With You are also at the top of the charts. And with the upcoming release of his new film, Suzume no Tojimari, fans can expect another visual masterpiece from Shinkai.

Films from shonen series such as Jujutsu Kaisen, Demon Slayer and One Piece are also on the rise, all of which broke records during their respective premieres in the past three years.

From heartwarming tales of love and friendship to epic clashes between good and evil, each is a story written to inspire. But you don’t have to be a wizard to make a difference – even everyday heroes can rise up with small actions and change the lives of those they care about for the better.

Top 10 highest grossing anime movies of all time

10. Princess Mononoke
9. Pokemon: The First Movie
8. Stand by me Doraemon
7. Jujutsu Kaisen 0
6. Weathering with you
5. Ponyo
4. Howl’s Moving Castle
3. Your name
2. Spirited Away
1. Demon Slayer Mugen Train

10. Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke wallpaper
Credit: Studio Ghibli

Worldwide gross: USD 170,005,875
Animation studio: Studio Ghibli
Release date: July 1997

Studio Ghibli’s beloved princess film makes it to this list as the 10th highest-grossing anime film of all time.

The film follows the story of the young prince Ashitaka, who embarks on a journey to find the great forest spirit in hopes of breaking a curse placed on him by a demon. He stumbles upon the titular character, Princess Mononoke, a woman raised by wolves who has a deep hatred for humans. After becoming involved in an environmental conflict between forest spirits and humans, the two gradually develop feelings for each other.

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Princess Mononoke was directed by Japanese film icon Hayao Miyazaki. What is impressive is that most of the film was drawn by hand and only 10 percent was rendered using computer animation.

9. Pokémon: The first movie

Pokemon: The First Movie wallpaper
Credit: OLM, Inc.

Worldwide gross: USD 172,744,662
Animation studio: OLM, Inc.
Release date: July 1998

First ones are always special, including Pokémon: The First Movie. This blockbuster film has two parts – Pikachu’s Vacation, where Ash, his friends and pocket monsters go to an amusement park to relax, and Mewtwo Strikes Back, which focuses on the legendary Pokémon.

This film was the biggest animated film opening for any film in Warner Bros. history, grossing $10.1 million on its opening day in the United States in 1999, according to Anime News Network.

8. Stand by me Doraemon

Stand by me Doraemon wallpaper
Credits: Shin Ei Animation, Robot Communications, Shirogumi

Worldwide gross: USD 183,442,714
Animation studios:
Shin Ei Animation, Robot Communications, Shirogumi
Release date:
August 2014

A beloved figure in Japanese cartoons, the futuristic blue cat, Doraemon, has been a part of many anime fans’ childhoods.

In Stand by me Doraemon, the robot cat comes to Nobita Nobi’s rescue after his great-great-grandson, Sewashi, warns him of a bleak future if he continues to fail in school and be lazy.

This heartwarming film won almost all of its nominations, including the prestigious 38th Japan Academy Prizes Animation of the Year.

7. Weathering with you

Weathering with you wallpaper
Credit: CoMix Wave Films Story Inc.

Worldwide gross: USD 193,715,360
Animation studios:
CoMix Wave Films Story Inc.
Release date:
July 2019

Sun, rain, wind, storm and overcast – whatever weather life throws at her, Hina Amano is in control. Dubbed Tokyo’s “Sunshine Girl,” Hina has the ability to control the weather by praying. Together with a runaway high school student named Hodaka Morishima, the two start a business that clears bad weather for events such as weddings or parties.

This film is Makoto Shinkai’s 12th film, released in 2019. It was praised for its stunning visuals, compelling story and beautiful OSTs performed by the Japanese band Radwimps.

6. Jujutsu Kaisen 0

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 marks from the movie
Credits: MAPPA, ONE Esports

Worldwide gross: USD 196,047,295
Animation studios:
Release date:
December 2021

The Jujutsu Kaisen anime series welcomes you to a world of cursed energy and spirits, starring Yuji Itadori, Nobara Kugisaki and Megumi Fushiguro.

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The Jujutsu Kaisen 0 preview delves a little deeper into anime history and lets fans in on the story of Yuta Okkotsu, a middle school student haunted by the cursed spirit of his childhood friend Rika Orimoto. The movie takes place before the events that happened in Season 1, with a younger Gojo Satoru guiding Yuta on how to control Rika.

The film debuted in December 2021 in Japan, before its world premiere in 2022. It also cemented itself as the highest-grossing film of 2021 in Japan, having earned $91 million.

5. Ponyo

Ponyo wallpaper
Credit: Studio Ghibli

Worldwide gross: USD 204,826,668
Animation studios:
Studio Ghibli
Release date:
July 2008

Hayao Miyazaki’s works are simply blockbusters, and Ponyo is no exception. It revolves around the adventures of a goldfish named Ponyo, who escapes from the sea and meets a young boy named Sousuke. The two embark on a magical journey in an attempt to transform the fish into a human girl.

Miyazaki’s wholesome picture earned an impressive US$3,585,852 in its opening weekend in the US and Canada in 2008.

4. Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle wallpaper
Credit: Studio Ghibli

Worldwide gross: USD 236,323,601
Animation studios:
Studio Ghibli
Release date:
November 2004

Another Studio Ghibli film, Howl’s Moving Castle tells the story of Sophie Hatter, a young hatter, and Howl Pendragon, a wizard who owns the titular moving castle. When Sophie meets the Witch of the Waste, who transforms her into a 90-year-old woman, she sets out on a mission to break the curse.

Howl’s Moving Castle first premiered at the 61st Venice Film Festival in 2004, where it won the Osella Awards for Technical Achievement.

3. Your name

Your name background
Credit: CoMix Wave Films

Worldwide gross: USD 380,140,500
Animation studios:
CoMix Wave Movies
Release date:
August 2016

Perhaps the most beloved Makoto Shinkai film of our generation, Your Name centers on the mundane lives of a high school boy living in Tokyo named Taki Tachibana and a high school girl in the countryside named Mitsuha Miyamizu. One fateful day, the two inexplicably start switching bodies.

During its first weeks at the Japanese box office, Your Name held the top spot for several consecutive weekends. It grossed $160 million in 2016 according to Oricon News, besting international titles in the country such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Shin Godzilla, Zootopia and Finding Dory.

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2. Spirited Away

One of the highest grossing anime films of all time is Spirited Away.  Chihiro and No Face in Spirited Away
Credit: Studio Ghibli

Worldwide gross: USD 395,580,000
Animation studios:
Studio Ghibli
Release date:
July 2001

Are you really a true anime fan if you’ve never seen a Studio Ghibli film, especially the major animation studio’s highest-grossing film of all time?

Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is considered by many fans to be a classic anime film. It follows the story of Chihiro Ogino, a young girl who moves into a new neighborhood and accidentally stumbles upon the spirit world. Later, she meets a boy named Haku who helps her find a way out of the spiritual dimension.

The film has received several local and international awards, including the 30th Annie Awards for Best Animated Feature and the 8th Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Animated Feature.

1. Demon Slayer Mugen Train

Demon Slayer Mugen Train Arc
Credit: unphotoable

Worldwide gross: USD 506,523,013
Animation studios:
Release date:
October 2020

Whoa whoa! All aboard The mug money train!

Ufotable’s Demon Slayer Mugen Train is the highest grossing anime film of all time.

The film follows the manga’s Mugen Train arc, featuring the Kamado siblings, their friends and Flame Hashira, Kyokuro Rengoku. The group is on the hunt for a dangerous demon aboard the Mugen train, while defending the 200 passengers on board.

Despite being released at the height of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the film broke records and became the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time with more than $506 million in revenue. In fact, it broke Spirited Away’s 19-year-old record after grossing US$223 million just over two months after its release.

The film was widely praised for its gorgeous graphics and top-notch animation, especially the mesmerizing fight scenes.

Anime fans can watch the full Demon Slayer Mugen Train movie on Netflix.

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