In its second U.S. weekend, the Funimation/Aniplex release earned an estimated $6.4 million, besting the Warner Bros. film Mortal Kombat, which ended up in second place with $6.2M. If the no. 1 ranking holds by the time final numbers are released late Monday, it would mark the first time in decades that an anime has ended up in the top spot at the U.S. box office. In our preliminary research, the last time this happened was in 1999, when Pokémon: The First Movie opened atop the U.S. rankings.
Demon Slayer did slip nearly 70% in its second weekend, which would typically be a troubling sign for a Hollywood film, but this was a niche release that catered largely to existing fans and the grosses were always expected to be frontloaded. Also, over two weekends, the film has grossed $34.1M in North America, which already makes it the third-highest grossing anime release of all-time over here, behind just Pokemon: The First Movie ($85.7M) and Pokemon: The Movie 2000 ($43.7M).
Globally, the film has grossed nearly $470M. It was the top-grossing theatrical animation release in the world last year, marking the first time that a non-American film has taken that honor.
A couple other animated films appeared in the U.S. box office this weekend: Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon landed in fifth place with $1.3M, and the Warner Bros. hybrid Tom Jerry in ninth with $515,000.
Raya has picked up just $41.5M in the U.S. making it the worst-performing cg animated feature that Walt Disney Animation Studios has ever released. It’s impossible to know how well Raya has actually performed since Disney hasn’t released any numbers for Disney+, where Raya was available for an additional $30 surcharge on top of monthly subscriber fees. Tellingly, however, more people have showed up to see Tom Jerry than Raya theaters – the cat-and-mouse have banked $44.2M in box office – even though the Warner Bros. film was available for free day-and-day on Warnermedia’s streaming service HBO Max.