In recent months, we have seen cinema companies laying off staff, filing for bankruptcy, or even closing down completely. Even big companies like Disney have announced a new business strategy: a reorganization that will focus on streaming.
However, one Japanese property moved in a different direction. This last weekend, droves of people went to see Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train (Infinity Train) on the big screen and even at IMAXs. Demon Slayer The film shattered opening weekend records domestically.
In an unusual move, the film is a direct sequel to the first seasion of the anime series, rather than a standalone story. It covers the events of the “Mugen Train” story arc (chapters 53-69) of the manga.
With anticipation for this Haruo Sotozaki-directed Demon Slayer, most cinemas opened as early as 7AM to customers, despite the dangers of COVID-19. Over the opening weekend, theatres offered around 40 showings a day, including early-morning and late-night screenings. For instance, Toho Cinemas Shinjuku showed the film 42 times across 11 screens.
It was reported that over 900,000 admissions to the film were recorded on Friday alone (opening day). It is no surprise, then, that record numbers of cinemas screened the movie: 365 theaters with regular screens, and 38 IMAX screens, for a total of 403. On top of that? Nearly all screenings sold out, too.
By Sunday, the special booklet that contained the ‘Rengoku Volume 0’ story had run out despite 4.5 million copies being printed.
The story of the characters’ growth and impressive scenes that have been drawn and animated with a masterpiece touch really make this one to see on the big screen. So despite fears of COVID, nothing could hold this hotly-anticipated movie down.
On the first day, the film drew in 1.2 billion yen (US $11.3 million), an incredible amount! amount!
The three-day grand totals? 3.4 million attendees, with 4.6 billion JPY in revenue (just under US $44 million).
By comparison, blockbuster Frozen 2 made US $18.2M in Japan over its first 3 days — a historic number itself. This means that in just three days, the Demon Slayer movie has already made more than the entire lifetime numbers of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and One Piece: Strong World.
What’s even more impressive is that these numbers were achieved during a pandemic where many cinemas have limited capacity as a social distancing measure.
Aniplex of America has licensed the film, but unfortunately, overseas fans will have to wait. It will be released in America in cooperation with Funimation Films sometime in 2021.