After making 40 billion yen at the Japanese box office, the Demon Slayer movie is taking on (and taking over) the world.
Last year, manga/anime Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃) took over Japan. The series drew fans into the world of Tanjiro and his demon sister Nezuko, and made us all very concerned for the future of the Demon Slayer Corps with one explosive first season, and finally a widely anticipated feature film. There has been no escape from the onslaught of Demon Slayer fandom in Japan (we’ve certainly taken note here at Japankuru), and the movie only pushed things over the edge. Now, despite the risk of COVID-19 infection worldwide, it seems Demon Slayer fever is what has caught on around the world.
In Japan, the Demon Slayer film (full title “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train” or “劇場版「鬼滅の刃」 無限列車編” in Japanese) broke all the records, essentially saving the Japanese movie theater industry after months of COVID-19 quarantines. The Demon Slayer movie provided enough impetus to drag people out of their houses and into movie theaters on October 16, 2020, and in no small number. In the first 16 days, 10 million people had seen the movie, and in 45 days the number of movie-watchers rose to 20 million nationwide. The animated movie is now the highest-grossing film in Japan, making over 40 billion yen at the domestic box office―a total more than 8 billion yen higher than the previous record-setter, Ghibli mega-hit Spirited Away. Even enormous international blockbusters like Frozen (or Titanic) have been unmistakably surpassed, not to mention more recent Japanese favorites like Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name.
Now, the movie―a dramatic continuation of the first season of the anime, full of frantic fights and tear-jerking losses, all confined to a mysterious “infinity train”―is making its way overseas. Despite the enduring issue of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, the Demon Slayer movie is now showing in theaters in 45 countries around the world, and has found notable popularity in the US, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, and parts of Latin America. With this new audience added to the stats, the total number of movie watchers jumps to more than 40 million people, and total box office revenue is at almost 52 billion yen (more than 475 million USD). Demon Slayer has blown previous international records for Japanese movies out of the water, again beating the former record-holder Spirited Away by a significant amount. Not bad for a little old anime flick!
Outside of Japan, the Demon Slayer movie has broken some interesting niche box office records in other countries, becoming the top animated film in Taiwan, the highest-grossing Japanese anime film across the Middle East, Africa, and Singapore, and even the number one foreign language film in the United States! The film has yet to be released in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, or Turkey, but theaters will be showing the movie soon, ensuring the number of viewers will only continue to grow.
For anyone in Japan who missed this major theatrical release, it turns out you’re in luck. Not only is the DVD due on store shelves (and in online shopping carts) imminently, but the Demon Slayer movie is actually still showing in a smattering of theaters across Japan, eight full months after its release.