When fans look at the box office results on Monday morning, most of the time we know what to expect. Big superhero or genre film on top, the big superhero or genre film from the previous week below that, and so on and so forth. But every once in a while there’s something different. Something… Super.
That happened this weekend as the number one film at the North American box office wasn’t a traditional studio blockbuster. It wasn’t even a live-action film. No, it was Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, a Toei Animation film distributed in North America by Crunchyroll. The anime movie grossed over $US20 ($28) million over the weekend, besting new releases like Idris Elba’s Beast and mainstays like Brad Pitt’s Bullet Train, Tom Cruise’s Top Gun Maverick, DC’s League of Super Pets, as well as Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder.
This is obviously shocking to some, but not to all. Many box office experts knew this would happen. On a weekend in a month with not a lot of major competition, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero opened on over 4,000 screens in over 3,000 theatres, the widest opening for an anime movie ever. And the resulting cash already ranks it as the #6 anime ever at the North American box office.
Plus, Crunchyroll has done this before — marketing largely through the internet, the company had similar success with Demon Slayer: Mugen Train in April 2021, which nearly beat the new Mortal Kombat on its opening weekend, and won the box office the following one. So Hollywood knows the audience is out there, but still, it’s a noteworthy achievement.
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