Demon Slayer has been the focus of fans for more than a year now, but its recent theatrical debut has enhanced the number of gawkers exponentially. Last weekend, Japan saw the first-ever Demon Slayer movie debut in an uncertain time. Much of the global entertainment chain has been shut down because of the pandemic with theaters being hit hard in countries such as the United States. That has not been the case in Japan, and its monumental release of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba - Mugen Train proved as much.
In a piece by The New York Times, the acclaimed paper breaks down the global significance of Demon Slayer's debut. But for fans, they are even amazed to see the anime being discussed by the paper. Anime is a growing part of Western pop culture, but trades aren't ones to discuss shows unless they have the clout of Dragon Ball. However, there is no way Hollywood could ignore what was happening in Japan with this movie release.
After all, Mugen Train has shattered records at the domestic box office overseas. It has grossed the highest opening weekend by far with over $43 million USD banked in its first three days. The film has the highest-grossing opening day of all time as well as highest-grossing weekday. No film comes close to beating the record set by Demon Slayer at the Japanese box office, and it signals what's to come for other countries with crashing entertainment sectors.
As the New York Times puts it, Demon Slayer's success is elevated by two things. The film was destined to be a hit from the start given the huge popularity of its source material; Demon Slayer is one of the best-selling manga in recent years, and its first season wowed fans worldwide. However, in this time of COVID-19, moviegoers were willing to return to theaters for two reasons: a controlled take on COVID and a movie worth seeing.
Unlike the United States with its skyrocketing infections rates, Japan has kept a lid on COVID cases. The nation saw a rise in April that led to a tight shutdown, but Japan hasn't topped more than 800 daily cases since August. An appeal to communal safety and logic has convinced the public majority to wear masks rigorously, and COVID rates continue to fall in Japan. This safety coupled with Demon Slayer's hype prompted more than 3.4 million people to watch Mugen Train last weekend.
The United States is far from reaching this level of comfort. On October 20, there were over 59,000 daily cases of COVID reported as opposed to the 800 in Japan. But whenever those numbers drop and stay there, executives hope moviegoers will flock back to screens just as they did in Japan last weekend.
What do you think of the movie's global platform? Does the success of Demon Slayer signal better days to come? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.