Weekend Box Office Forecast: Demon Slayer and Mortal Kombat Look to Extend Their Reign in Tight Race for 1st During Sophomore Frame

Photo Credits: Warner Bros. ("Mortal Kombat"); Sony Pictures / FUNimation ("Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train")

Last week provided another encouraging sign that audiences are increasingly ready to resume moviegoing in theaters as Warner Bros.’ Mortal Kombat and Funimation’s Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train demolished pandemic-era standards for R-rated films. That duo is poised to easily reign again this weekend as April comes to a close and we turn the page into May.

Kombat‘s own $23.3 million opening weekend wasn’t far off from our pre-pandemic forecasts, nor was its natural frontloading by fans. Driven primarily by males over the age of 25, the film opened to $9.09 million on Friday and slid 4.6 percent to $8.675 million on Saturday before an estimated haul of $5.535 million on Sunday.

By comparison, Godzilla vs. Kong increased 7.6 percent on its first Saturday, although it had already burned off some demand on Wednesday and Thursday in its pre-weekend start a few weeks ago. That pic declined 56 percent in its second weekend, one of the better showings of Warner’s day-and-date openers since the strategy began in December with Wonder Woman 1984.

Demon Slayer, on the other hand, saw its Thursday evening grosses rolled into Friday’s as one overall “opening day” reported by Funimation. Following that $9.54 million combined figure, Saturday slid 32.4 percent to $6.45 million. The film has since found some stability, though, dropping only 19.9 percent on Sunday and 66 percent on Monday, then increasing almost 6 percent on Tuesday.

Warner Bros., unfortunately, has not reported official daily estimates for Kombat since Sunday.

Adding a degree of fascination to the sophomore frame of these two films will be the fact that Demon Slayer‘s location count is climbing. The film screened at over 1,600 domestic cinemas last weekend and is currently confirmed in no less than 1,833 theaters starting this Friday, according to The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard. That figure could approach 2,000 or more as theaters continue booking.

Kombat‘s pre-existing 3,073 theater count last frame isn’t likely to change by much, in contrast. In fact, the Warner Bros. film is losing some of premium screen footprint to Demon Slayer. Major chains are dividing showtimes across premium formats between the two titles in an effort to correct for the demand they saw last weekend. That could prove to further soften Slayer‘s drop this weekend, while exacerbating Kombat‘s.

On Dashboard, Kombat currently leads Slayer 21 percent to 16 percent among total showings booked by cinema operators. Also worth considering is the history of anime films to be quite frontloaded at the domestic box office, with a recent example like Dragon Ball Super: Broly sliding more than 69 percent in its second weekend back in January 2019. Slayer has thus far bucked a few early trends typical of the genre, though.

New Releases & Holdovers

Open Road returns to theaters this weekend with the release of their latest horror pic, Separation, in 1,751 domestic theaters. The studio has been one of the notable supporters for exhibition during the early push toward recovery since last fall, most recently opening Liam Neeson’s The Marksman to $3.5 million over the four-day MLK frame back in mid-January.

That figure was a relative win at the time in a virtually dead market, and things have changed quite substantially in the last three-and-a-half months with more mainstream content releasing and major markets reopening. Separation, unfortunately, is trending quietly on all fronts with muted social media activity. The best comps at this point are the likes of Sony’s The Unholy ($3.15 million opening weekend earlier this month) and Lionsgate’s Voyagers ($1.38 million). A debut much closer to the latter appears likely.

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures is re-releasing Scott Pilgrim vs. the World for its 10th anniversary (which was technically last year for the 2010 release) in a projected 130 theaters this weekend, per Showtimes Dashboard. The film is exclusively playing at Dolby Cinema venues, so it’s unlikely to register among the top ten despite solid pre-sales for the modern cult classic written and directed by Edgar Wright.

That studio’s sibling, Focus Features, will also unfurl Ben Sharrock’s Limbo in limited release at 208 locations in North America. Such a level will be more condensed than Focus’ own Boogie, which opened to $1.2 million from 1,252 locations in early March, so an opening for outside the top ten may be inevitable. That being said, the Cannes, TIFF selection, and recent two-time BAFTA winner for “Best British Film” and “Best Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer” could play well in coastal cities and arthouse venues currently open.

Elsewhere, top-performing holdovers should fare well overall as the market enters another quiet weekend on the front of competition while existing players continue stretching their legs.

This Weekend vs. Last Weekend

Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten will decline between 45 and 50 percent from last weekend’s pandemic record of $55.6 million, which was anchored by the strong debuts of Mortal Kombat and Demon Slayer.

Weekend Forecast

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, May 2 Location Count % Change from Last Wknd
Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – the Movie: Mugen Train Funimation $9,600,000 $36,700,000 ~2,000 -55%
Mortal Kombat (2021) Warner Bros. Studios $9,000,000 $37,300,000 ~3,070 -61%
Godzilla vs. Kong Warner Bros. Studios $3,500,000 $91,400,000 ~2,800 -18%
Raya and the Last Dragon Walt Disney Pictures $1,700,000 $42,000,000 1,810 -2%
Nobody Universal Pictures $1,600,000 $23,700,000 2,056 -8%
Separation Open Road Films $1,500,000 $1,500,000 1,751 NEW
The Unholy Sony Pictures / Screen Gems $1,100,000 $13,200,000 1,538 -25%
Tom & Jerry Warner Bros. Studios $700,000 $44,400,000 ~1,700 -3%
Together Together Bleecker Street $350,000 $1,100,000 659 -34%
The Girl Who Believes in Miracles Atlas Distribution $250,000 $2,800,000 ~700 -27%

All forecasts subject to change before the first confirmation of weekend estimates from studios or alternative sources.

Theater counts are updated as confirmed by studios.

Forecasts above do not necessarily represent the top ten, but rather films with the widest theatrical footprint based on studio confirmations entering the weekend.

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