Summer has long been the peak season for box-office success, and it’s no different in Japan. Particularly, the one-month period from the end of July to the end of August, when students are on summer break, and the mid-August Bon holiday, when even workaholics take a week-long vacation.

Given that this is a time of the year when many families make a rare outing to the local cineplex, the offerings tend to be family friendly. In the West, Hayao Miyazaki is known primarily as a revered anime master. In Japan, he has long monopolized prime summer cinema slots with his animated fantasies, amassing huge sums for his backers by appealing to everyone from children to their grandparents.

These summer “rules” apply to Miyazaki’s latest and most probably last film, “The Boy and the Heron,” which opened in 441 theaters on July 14. After 10 days on release, the film had earned ¥3.6 billion on 2.32 million admissions. These are the numbers of a populist hit, not an auteurist masterwork — though Miyazaki’s films have often been both.