“Dragon Ball Super: Superhero‘ topped the box office on its debut and exceeded expectations by grossing an impressive $21 million in North American box office sales.
The anime film, which runs 3,007 screens, is distributed domestically by Crunchyroll, which specializes in anime films and television. “Super Hero” is a needed bright spot in an otherwise dreary August at the box office. The latest installment of Dragon Ball Super earned twice as much as the weekend’s other national release, Universal’s survival thriller.animal‘ starring Idris Elba. After mixed reviews, Beast opened in 3,743 North American theaters for a modest $11.5 million.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Dragon Ball fans will be able to come together to see and enjoy this amazing film in theaters,” said Mitchel Berger, Crunchyroll’s senior vice president of global commerce, in a statement. “Crunchyroll thanks all fans, whether you’re a ‘super’ fan or a newbie or not, and we hope you keep coming back.”
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is the latest example of the United States’ passionate audience for anime films. Crunchyroll, owned by Sony Pictures, owns the North American market. Earlier this year, the company’s PG-13 “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” fetched a remarkable $17.6 million on its debut, while its 2021 release “Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train” grossed $21.2 million at launch , which is even more impressive since cinemas were still available at reduced capacity. However, anime features tend to play out like horror films in terms of ticket sales, with front-loaded performances leading to significant drops after the first week of release.
Directed by Tetsuro Kodama, the well-reviewed Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has benefited from its presence in premium formats including Imax, 4DX and Dolby Cinemas. The film ran on 327 Imax screens for $3.4 million in domestic ticket sales. At Imax, these returns are considered the broadest and highest-grossing opening weekend for an anime film.
“This is another outstanding Crunchyroll anime opening. It has grown into an impressive niche theater business,” says David A. Gross, who runs film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research. But, he adds, “Crunchyroll movies move fast in the US; their domestic multiples are low.”
Like the critics, the audience for “Beast” was similarly mixed, giving the film a mediocre “B” CinemaScore. Directed by Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur (“Adrift”), “Beast” follows a father and his two teenage daughters (Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries) as they are being hunted by a massive rogue lion. The film, which cost $36 million to produce, has grossed $10.2 million at the international box office to date.
Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic sales, is encouraged that “Beast” appealed to a wide audience. Visitors over the opening weekend were 34% African American, 26% Caucasian, 23% Hispanic, and 10% Asian. In the meantime, 47% of ticket buyers were over 35 years old and therefore slightly older than expected.
“It’s great to see,” Orr says, referring to the audience breakdown. “It’s a very good start to a great run that I’m confident in.”
Elsewhere on the domestic box office charts, Sony’s action thriller Bullet Train slipped to third place after two straight weekends at No. 1. The film grossed $8 million from 3,781 locations in its third weekend of release, taking its domestic tally to $68.9 million. That’s a decent result for a star-driven, non-franchise action film in today’s fractured cinema landscape. But it cost $90 million to make — and many millions more to get it to the masses — meaning it has to keep chugging on in theaters to justify its hefty budget. Bullet Train has grossed $81 million overseas and a solid $150 million worldwide.
In fourth place, Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick grossed $5.85 million from 2,969 locations in its 13th weekend of release. Coming to home entertainment in the coming days, Tom Cruise’s blockbuster action sequel has grossed a staggering $683 million to date, enough to buy Marvel’s 2018 superhero epic Avengers: Infinity War ($678). million US dollars) as the sixth-highest domestic result to overtake publication in history. For those keeping track at home, it’s only $17 million to match fifth place “Black Panther” ($700 million). Since “Maverick” opened in theaters on Memorial Day weekend, it has spent just one weekend outside of the top five on the North American box office.
Warner Bros. animated adventure DC League of Super-Pets ranked #5 with $5.77 million from 3,537 venues. After four weeks in theaters, the family-friendly film has grossed $66.4 million in North America.
On the independent scene, A24’s slasher satire “Bodies Bodies Bodies” peaked at number 10 on the domestic chart and added $2.4 million from 2,541 theaters. The film, which has been slowly expanding its footprint in recent weeks, has grossed $7.4 million to date.
In far fewer theaters, Paramount’s psychological horror film Orphan: First Kill grossed $1.6 million from just 498 venues. The 2009 prequel to “Orphan” has such a small screen count because it debuted simultaneously on digital platforms and Paramount+, the studio’s streaming service.