The pandemic-battered U.S. box office received a shot in the arm this weekend from an animated feature, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train, the smash-hit from Japan that was the highest-grossing animated feature globally in 2020.
Released by Funimation/Aniplex in the U.S. and Canada, the Haruo Sotozaki-directed Demon Slayer picked up a fantastic $19.5 million (estimated) in its debut weekend. That puts it in second-place (tied with Pokemon: The Movie 2000) for biggest domestic anime openings of all time. The top opening for an anime release in the U.S. belongs to Pokemon: The First Movie which scored $31 million back in 1999. A big difference: Demon Slayer was rated R, the first major R-rated animation release in the U.S. since 2016’s Sausage Party.
Outside of the two Pokemon films, Demon Slayer is now all but guaranteed to become the third highest-grossing anime film ever released in the United States. That’s an impressive accomplishment for an IP that debuted as a manga just five years ago.