Demon Slayer fastest movie in Japan to hit 10 billion yen revenue

TOKYO • Japanese animated film Demon Slayer shattered a box-office record, reaching revenue of 10.75 billion yen (S$139.4 million) in just 10 days, the film's distributor said on Monday.

That was the fastest pace for ticket sales in Japan to top 10 billion yen, besting the previous record-holder, director Hayao Miyazaki's 2001 animated film Spirited Away, which took 25 days to reach the milestone.

The animated film, whose full title is Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba The Movie - Mugen Train, had already broken the country's previous record for best three-day opening when it hit cinemas on Oct 16.

In what may be a first for Japan, the movie had the biggest opening in the world two weekends ago - more than all other countries combined - despite having debuted only domestically.

The movie, based on a popular manga, is set in Japan roughly 100 years ago, about a boy who fights human-eating demons.

It is a direct sequel to the anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, which is available on Netflix.

Co-distributor Aniplex said 7.98 million people had seen the film as of Monday.

The movie had been hotly anticipated for months by Japanese fans and an industry desperate to get moviegoers back in front of big screens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan has kept coronavirus cases and deaths low, with a relatively light touch that relies on contact tracing and appeals to a national sense of social responsibility.

The daily number of new cases in Japan has stayed below 800 since the end of August and, in Tokyo, daily life, at least on the surface, has mostly returned to normal.

For the country's top politicians, the startling box-office numbers were a barometer for Japan's weathering of the pandemic and its efforts to restart the economy.

It was the rare cartoon that received an enthusiastic review from not one, but two, Japanese Cabinet ministers.

The top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, told reporters that the movie had made an "extremely large contribution to the film industry".

On Twitter, Mr Yasutoshi Nishimura, who heads the country's economic revitalisation efforts, called it "a spectacular achievement for the worlds of culture and entertainment as they struggle with the coronavirus".

REUTERS , NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2020, with the headline 'Demon Slayer fastest movie in Japan to hit 10 billion yen revenue'. Print Edition | Subscribe