"Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train" "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train"

For Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train, this is the endgame. In two blistering months, the anime feature has rocketed to 30 billion yen at the Japanese box office, breaking countless records on its way. It is the only title to reach this milestone other than Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away (2001), and is now poised to surpass that film and break the ultimate record, becoming the top-grossing film in Japanese history.

After 59 days on release in Japan, Mugen Train has sold 22,539,385 tickets to gross 30.3 billion yen (USD$291 million). Spirited Away stands at 30.8 billion yen. However, as the journalist Atsushi Ohara noted on Twitter, that number doesn’t include what the film grossed after its re-release earlier this year; he says the figure could be updated imminently.

Either way, Mugen Train is all but certain to surpass Spirited Away. Two things are remarkable. First, that it has caught up at lightning speed: Ghibli’s film took 253 days to gross 30 billion yen — more than four times longer than Mugen Train.

Second, that this has happened in the midst of a pandemic (albeit one that Japan has managed well). The Demon Slayer franchise, which began life as a manga, has turned into a cultural phenomenon in Japan; according to financial publication Nikkei, some estimate that it could generate close to $2 billion in economic activity in the country.

The global cume of Mugen Train stands at an estimated $310 million, factoring in the handful of overseas markets where it has opened (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam). Sony subsidiaries Funimation and Aniplex of America are due to give it a theatrical release in North America early next year. The film is distributed in Japan by Toho and Aniplex. It is directed by Haruo Sotozaki and produced by the Tokyo-based Ufotable.

Meanwhile, The Croods: A New Age continues to perform well in China. The sequel from Dreamworks and Universal has now grossed $46 million in the country, overtaking Disney’s live-action Mulan to become the second-highest-grossing foreign title of the year (after Tenet).

The film also topped the North American box office for the third week running with an estimated $3 million. It has now taken $24.2 million domestically — behind only Tenet in the post-pandemic box office. Its global total is $76.3 million, which is decent considering the circumstances and its $65 million budget. Universal is set to release the film on PVOD this week, invoking the shortened theatrical window it negotiated with theater chains.

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