‘Demon Slayer': the film breaking Japanese box-office records despite the pandemic

·2-min read

While several cities have implemented lockdown or curfew measures to curb the covid-19 pandemic worldwide, Japanese cinemas are welcoming hordes of moviegoers thanks to "Demon Slayer: Mugen Train." The film adaptation of Koyoharu Gotōge's manga broke Japanese box-office records for its weekend debut.

Eagerly awaited by fans of the "Kimetsu no Yaiba" manga, this animated feature went far beyond expectations, amassing 4.62 billion yen (44 million dollar) in revenue during its first three days of screening. It even surpassed the first three days of Disney's "Frozen 2" which had grossed 30 million dollars in the country.

Almost 3.5 million Japanese moviegoers went to theaters between October 16 and 18 to discover Haruo Sotozaki's movie "Demon Slayer: Mugen Train," shown in 403 locations. These figures represent 2.7% of the country's total population.

While Japanese authorities allowed movie theaters to reopen last May, no film released since that time has managed to draw that many viewers to cinemas.

A Gem Standard study, conducted in Japan in August, indicated that close to 60% of respondents weren't comfortable with the idea of going to the cinema despite the safety measures implemented in the country. Over a third of Japanese respondents (38%) said that they were waiting for a film that truly interested them before they would set foot in a movie theater. 

And now it seems that "Demon Slayer: Mugen Train" was the film many were waiting for. This anime, inspired by Koyoharu Gotōge 's manga "Kimetsu no Yaiba," tells the story of a young man who has to sell coal to support his family. However, he becomes a Demon Slayer when his family gets slaughtered and when he finds out that one of his siblings has been turned into an evil creature. Over 100 million copies of this manga have been sold worldwide since the first volume was released in 2016.

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