“Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” topped the box office on its debut, exceeding expectations by grossing an impressive $21 million in North American ticket sales.
The anime film, running on 3,007 screens, is being distributed internally by Crunchyroll, which specializes in anime film and television. “Super Hero” is a necessary bright spot in a dismal August at the box office. The newest release of “Dragon Ball Super” netted twice as much as the weekend’s other national release, Universal’s survival thriller “Beast,” starring Idris Elba. Hit by mixed reviews, “Beast” opened to a modest $11.5 million in 3,743 North American theaters.
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“We are absolutely thrilled that ‘Dragon Ball’ fans can come together to experience and enjoy this incredible film in theaters,” said Mitchel Berger, Crunchyroll’s senior vice president of global commerce, in a statement. “Crunchyroll thanks all the fans, whether you’re a ‘super’ fan or a rookie, and we hope they come back again.”
“Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” is the latest example of the passionate audience for anime films in the United States. Crunchyroll, which is owned by Sony Pictures, owns the market in North America. Earlier this year, the company’s PG-13 “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” grossed a remarkable $17.6 million on its debut, while its 2021 release “Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train” generated $21.2 million. million to begin with, which is even more impressive given that theaters were still operating at reduced capacity at the time. However, anime features tend to work like horror films in terms of ticket sales, with early performances generating substantial declines after the first week of release.
Directed by Tetsuro Kodama, the highly rated “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” benefited from its presence in premium formats including Imax, 4DX and Dolby Cinemas. The film was shown on 327 Imax screens, which accounted for $3.4 million in domestic ticket sales. On Imax, these returns are ranked as the widest and highest-grossing opening weekend for an anime film. For CJ 4DPlex, a South Korean company specializing in immersive multi-sensory technology, “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” also set an anime record in the format with $525,000 on 51 home screens.
“This is another excellent Crunchyroll anime opening. This has become an impressive niche theatrical business,” says David A. Gross, who runs the film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research. But, he adds, “Crunchyroll movies go fast in the US; their domestic multiples are low”.
As well as critics, audiences were also mixed on “Beast”, giving the film a more or less “B” CinemaScore. Directed by Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur (“Drifting”), “The Beast” follows a father and his two teenage daughters (Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries) who are hunted by a massive rogue lion. The film, which cost $36 million to produce, has grossed $10.2 million to date at the international box office.
Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, is encouraged that “Beast” has attracted a broad audience. Among the opening weekend crowds, 34% were African American, 26% were Caucasian, 23% were Hispanic, and 10% were Asian. Meanwhile, 47% of ticket buyers were over 35, a bit older than expected.
“It’s great to see,” says Orr, referring to the audience meltdown. “It’s a very good start to what I’m convinced will be a great race.”
Elsewhere at the domestic box office, Sony’s action thriller “Bullet Train” has dropped to third place after two consecutive first-place weekends. million. That’s a decent result for a star-driven action movie outside of a franchise in today’s fractured movie scene. But it cost $90 million to make – and many millions more to promote to the masses – which means it has to stay in theaters to justify its hefty budget. “Bullet Train” grossed $81 million overseas and a solid $150 million globally.
In fourth place, Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” grossed $5.85 million from 2,969 locations in its 13th weekend of release. Tom Cruise’s blockbuster action sequel, which hits home entertainment in the next few days, has grossed $683 million to date, enough to surpass 2018’s Marvel superhero epic “Avengers: Infinity War” ( $678 million) as the sixth highest grossing domestically. release in history. For those watching at home, there’s just $17 million left to reach fifth place, “Black Panther” ($700 million). Since opening in theaters on Memorial Day weekend, “Maverick” has spent just one weekend outside the top five on the North American box office charts.
The animated adventure from Warner Bros. “DC League of Super-Pets” ranked 5th with $5.77 million from 3,537 locations. After four weeks in theaters, the family film generated $66.4 million in North America.
In the independent scene, A24’s horror satire, “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” ranked 10th on the domestic charts, taking in $2.4 million from 2,541 theaters. The film, which has been slowly expanding its presence in recent weeks, has generated $7.4 million to date.
In far fewer theaters, Paramount’s psychological horror film “Orphan: First Kill” took in $1.6 million from just 498 locations. The prequel to 2009’s “Orphan” has such a meager screen count because it premiered simultaneously on digital platforms and on Paramount+, the studio’s streaming service.
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