It took 17 years, but the Japanese box office opening record was crushed this past weekend—during a pandemic, no less.
Demon Slayer the Movie: Infinite Train started with 4.62 billion yen, equivalent to approximately $44 million USD. That was the biggest film debut globally this past weekend, despite only premiering in a single market.
Demon more than doubled Japan’s previous opening weekend, 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded with $20.8 million. Among its fellow animated titles, Demon also crushed Japan’s previous animated opening weekend record, 2019’s Frozen II with $17.8 million.
Demon earned more than seven times the previous best post-pandemic opening in Japan, the $5.8 million debut of July’s local title From Today, It’s My Turn: The Movie.
Iin all of 2019, not only did nothing come even remotely close to Demon‘s $43.8 million opening in Japan, only five films debuted with weekends even above $10 million. Four were American films, led by the aforementioned Frozen II as the top opening of the year with $17.8 million, while Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire earned the top opening among local titles with $13.0 million.
Compared to the two other biggest post-pandemic releases, Demon fell a bit shy of Tenet‘s $53 million global opening weekend — but that film debuted in 41 markets, rather than just one. (And the U.S. wasn’t even one of those 41 markets.) China’s The Eight Hundred has earned the largest post-pandemic global weekend so far with $161 million from China alone, although China’s population is 11.3x larger than Japan’s.
Distributed in Japan by Toho and Aniplex, Demon Slayer the Movie: Infinite Train is based on a popular manga comic book series published since 2016 and adapted into a 2019 anime television series, about a teenage boy in 1910s-era Japan who avenges his family’s death by — as the title suggests — slaying demons. The movie follows that lead character, Tanjiro Kamado, as he investigates a series of mysterious and supernatural disappearances on a train.