Passing the $30 million milestone, Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie now sits fourth on the all-time U.S. anime box office list.
Now in its third week at the U.S. box office, the Seong-Hu Park-directed film continued its impressive run with a Comscore-estimated $1.95 million 3-day weekend gross. If estimates hold, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 is now comfortably the fourth-highest grossing anime title ever at the U.S. box office, with a cumulative take of $31.4 million. That figure places the film ahead of Dragon Ball Super: Broly’s total of $30.7 million in 2019, but leaves plenty of space to cover before it can threaten the no. 3 spot: 2000’s Pokémon the Movie, which grossed nearly $44 million.
Anime features have polled strong in the U.S. in recent years, in spite of COVID shutdowns and restrictions at brick and mortar cinemas. Just last year, Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train hauled in nearly $50 million at the box office, a staggering total which places it second in the all time U.S. anime box office list, with Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back safely in first at more than $85 million. Five of the top 10 highest grossing anime films in the U.S. all time, according to Box Office Mojo data, have come in the past three years, proving the genre’s resilience in the face of the pandemic.
Positivity stemming from success enjoyed by animated features at the box office, particularly anime films targeting more mature audiences, is diminished slightly however by a chaotic theatrical window trying to create space for films that have accumulated over the past two years of cinematic turmoil. So far this year, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 remains the only animated feature to be released in more than 2,000 theaters, an exceptional state of affairs when compared to the pre-COVID theatrical landscape.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0’s U.S. success can hardly be seen as surprising. In Japan, the film – released by Toho on December 24, 2021 – sat at the top of the box office for more than two months, surpassing fellow anime blockbuster Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time as the top grossing film released in 2021. Notably, the top four box office films released in Japan in 2021 were all animated features.
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 turns on high-school student Yuta Okkotsu, who can control the spirit of his deceased friend Rika. The film is adapted from Gege Akutami’s eponymous manga series which was serialized — under a different title — in 2017. It also serves as a prequel to the series Jujutsu Kaisen, similarly based on an Akutami manga and directed by Park at Mappa, available on Crunchyroll and HBO Max. A second season of the series will come out next year.