‘Demon Slayer’ overtakes ‘Mortal Kombat’ at US box office

screenmixMay 2, 2021
The anime action adventure 'Demon Slayer' is expected to end the weekend with US$6.4 million in ticket sales. — Screen capture via YouTube
The anime action adventure ‘Demon Slayer’ is expected to end the weekend with US$6.4 million in ticket sales. — Screen capture via YouTube

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LOS ANGELES, May 3 — After narrowly losing first place in its opening weekend, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train has surged ahead of Mortal Kombat on US box office charts.

The anime action adventure Demon Slayer is expected to end the weekend with US$6.4 million (RM26.2 million) in ticket sales, while Mortal Kombat trails closely behind with US$6.2 million between Friday and Sunday. Both films debuted last weekend and dipped roughly 70 per cent from their initial outings.

In normal times, those figures would have been somewhat disappointing for nationwide releases but during a pandemic, it’s not a terrible result. Still, it leaves lingering questions about when moviegoing will return in earnest — and if upcoming potential blockbusters like A Quiet Place Part II, Marvel’s Black Widow and Fast and Furious sequel F9 will premiere as expected this summer.

Demon Slayer, which is playing in 1,915 North American venues, has earned an impressive US$34.1 million in the US and Canada to date. The film, from Funimation and Aniplex, has surpassed Dragon Ball: Super Broly (US$30 million) to become the third-highest grossing anime title in North America.

Overseas, the latest Demon Slayer has already set several box office records. In Japan, it has become the highest-grossing movie ever with ticket sales surpassing US$368 million. It’s also the highest-grossing anime film ever with US$423 million globally.

Mortal Kombat, a martial arts-inspired adaptation of the popular video game, has grossed US$34 million in two weeks. Those receipts are notable because the Warner Bros. release is playing simultaneously on HBO Max. The studio’s entire 2021 slate, including In the Heights and The Suicide Squad, is following a similar rollout pattern.

Internationally, where HBO Max has yet to launch, Mortal Kombat hasn’t been well embraced by audiences. It added another US$3 million this weekend for a total haul of US$32.8 million. Worldwide, Mortal Kombat has passed US$66 million in ticket sales.

In third place, Godzilla vs Kong, a Warner Bros. and Legendary film, collected US$2.7 million from 2,753 screens. That brings its domestic total to US$90 million. The monster mashup has become a hit overseas, where it has grossed US$325 million, pushing its global bounty to US$415 million.

Horror movie Separation opened in forth, pulling in US$1.8 million from 1,751 venues. The Open Road and Briarcliff release got terrible reviews, with Variety’s critic Nick Schager calling the supernatural thriller about a creepy doll that haunts a widower and his daughter a “dull and misogynistic affair.” On Rotten Tomatoes, it averaged a dismal 11 per cent.

Universal’s action thriller Nobody rounded out the top five, amassing US$1.2 million in its sixth weekend of release. In total, the Bob Odenkirk-led film has made US$23 million. The movie is currently available to rent on demand for US$20 due to an agreement between Universal and movie theatre chains like AMC and Cinemark, which allows the studio to debut its films on digital rental services early.

Among specialty releases, Four Good Days debuted in 298 venues and earned US$303,000 over the weekend, averaging US$1,017 per location. The drama, starring Glenn Close as a mother who attempts to help her heroin-addicted daughter (Mila Kunis) pursue sobriety, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival to mixed reviews.

The Focus Features comedic drama Limbo also opened this weekend, grossing US$90,000 from 208 theatres for a weak US$434 per-screen average. The well-reviewed movie takes place on a fictional remote Scottish island and centres on a group of new arrivals as they await the results of their asylum claims. — Variety.com via Reuters