Japan’s ‘Demon Slayer’ Kills It With Record $44M Opening; China Passing North America For 2020 – International Box Office

MONDAY UPDATE, writethru after Sunday 11:12AM post: Big news this weekend out of Japan where anime adaptation Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train shattered all-time opening records. The film, which debuted on Friday October 16, as opposed to the usual Saturday/Sunday session, grossed $44M (4.623B yen) across the three-day. It is the global box office leader this weekend and Japan’s biggest launch in industry history.

This is a stunning debut which we hear commandeered 84% of the market with exits at 4.5 out of 5 stars. Putting the opening into some perspective, Frozen 2 last year launched to a 3-day of $18.2M at historical rates. Demon Slayer also set a new IMAX record, opening 18% bigger in the format than previous champ Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, to become the top IMAX Japan opener ever with $2.27M (238M yen) from 38 screens. Grosses increased incrementally over the weekend for IMAX.

Such was the anticipation for this Haruo Sotozaki-directed Demon Slayer locally that screenings began at 7AM on Friday and some theaters, according to reports, were playing it up to 40 times per day. From Aniplex and Ufotable, and released by Aniplex and Toho, Demon Slayer is based on the manga Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba by Koyoharu Gotoge. It was then adapted into a TV series and Mugen Train (aka Infinity Train) is the direct follow-up to that.

The Japanese government relaxed cinema capacity restrictions in mid-September, but some are understood to nevertheless have been cautious about the number of seats they sell, and concessions are not available everywhere.

The Demon Slayer story sees Tanjiro Kamado and friends from the Demon Slayer corps board the Infinity Train on a new mission to investigate a mysterious series of disappearances perpetrated by a demon who has been tormenting people and killing the demon slayers who oppose it. Funimation is releasing in North America early next year.

Japan has had some notable local successes as moviegoing has ramped up again in the past few months. They include the latest Doraemon ($30M+ cume) and From Today, It’s My Turn with $48M. Both pictures released over the summer. Japan is also a big market on Christopher Nolan’s Tenet with $21.6M after five sessions.

That WB film this weekend generated an estimated $6.6M globally. The international Tenet total is now $283.3M for $333.9M worldwide. The Top 5 offshore on the time twister are China ($66.3M), UK ($22.1M), France ($21.9M), Japan ($21.6M) and Germany ($18.2M).

And, in China, which as of October 11 had roughly $240M separating it from North America for 2020, local National Day releases continued to lead box office and close the gap. My People, My Homeland added $25.6M this session for a running cume of $366M while Jiang Ziya: Legend Of Deification is now at $228M and Leap! has grossed $115M.

With the arrival of Korean War action/drama Sacrifice (local title: Jin Gang Chuan) in the Middle Kingdom on October 23, China should imminently pull ahead of domestic — it is not there yet according to comScore, despite some other reports to the contrary (North America was at $2.085B as of October 11 and through this weekend should be around the $2.1B mark meaning there is still about $100M separating the two). Sacrifice will be the film to watch next weekend. It stars Wolf Warrior’s Wu Jing and The Eight Hundred’s Zhang Yi and is a collaboratively directed film from The Eight Hundred’s Guan Hu, The Wandering Earth’s Frant Gwo and Brotherhood Of Blades‘ Lu Yang. The latter’s Assassin In Red is due for Chinese New Year 2021, along with Sicheng Chen’s Detective Chinatown 3, as we noted last week.

Elsewhere, Voltage’s After We Collided opened at No. 1 in Belgium and held No. 1 in the Netherlands this frame which was good overall for $2.1M in 35 markets. The overseas cume is $45.6M before domestic opens this coming week.

STX’s Greenland was tops again in Italy where it has now grossed $1.5M while Spain held at No. 2 behind local thriller No Mataras. The overall weekend was $1.64M from 1,923 locations for an estimated international cume of $31M. The next major release is in Germany on October 29.

This session was impacted by a new curfew in major French cities including Paris, and with cinemas in some of Central Europe shuttering again.

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