After a Sunday estimate of $19.5M, Funimation’s animated Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train actually debuted at $21.1M, according to their actuals released Monday.
Based on the Japanese manga comic book series by Koyoharu Gotoge, which has sold 150 million copies, the title opened theatrically in Japan in October 2020 and became the highest-grossing movie of all time in that country — defeating the 19-year record holder, 2001’s Spirited Away.
The North American version, which was released this weekend in both dubbed and subtitled formats, started with $21,144,800 on 1,605 screens, for a $13,174 per-screen average.
Set in 1910s Japan, the teenage protagonist embarks on a mission to avenge 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.
Pending the release of actuals from Warner Bros. later this afternoon, their new release Mortal Kombat is still tentatively projected to open in first place with around $22.5M.
However, it was playing on far more screens: 3,073 versus Demon Slayer‘s 1,605. And if Kombat ends up finishing sufficiently below its Sunday estimate, it’s possible Demon Slayer could actually earn a surprise box office win.
Among films theatrically released in 2020, Demon Slayer is the fourth-highest biggest globally with $407.6 million, of which currently 89.5 percent was earned in Japan.
It’s possible the film could belatedly ascend additional ranks on the global list of 2020 releases, several months into 2021. Currently, it’s not too far behind China’s My People, My Homeland in third place with $422.3M, the domestic Bad Boys For Life in second place with $426.5M, or China’s The Eight Hundred in first place with $461.3M.
“This remarkable film with emotional depth and breath-taking animation has clearly delighted both die-hard anime fans and wider audiences who are hungry for a great movie experience,” Funimation Global Group CEO of Colin Decker said in a company press release. “We believe this to be an important mainstreaming moment, not just for the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba franchise, but for the U.S. anime brand overall.”
UPDATE: Mortal Kombat came in at $23,302,503, preserving its first place finish at the box office.
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