The Strong One-Two Punch Of ‘Mortal Kombat’ And ‘Demon Slayer’ KOs The Competition In Busy Weekend At Domestic Box Office
Just a month after Godzilla vs. Kong kicked off a much-needed rebound at the box office, two brawny newcomers KO’d the competition with a ferocious one-two punch, easily taking the top two spots in North America this weekend. The double-barreled debuts resulted in the biggest overall theatrical session since the coronavirus pandemic began a little more than a year ago and are just the latest sign that audiences might finally be ready to return to multiplexes after a year of streaming movies at home.

The big winner was Warner Bros.’ Mortal Kombat, which came out of the gate with a muscular $22.5 million bow. It was the second-highest opening-weekend tally since Godzilla vs. Kong’s $31 million haul in March. Despite mixed reviews, the violent, R-rated videogame adaptation (which is also currently streaming on the HBO Max platform) scored an impressive $7,326 per-screen average in 3,073 theaters. The film added another $27.6 million overseas, bringing its worldwide cumulative total to $50.1 million. Despite the strength of Mortal Kombat’s stateside roll-out, the film faced unexpectedly stiff competition from FUNimation Entertainment’s Demon Slayer—The Movie: Mugen Train, an anime action-adventure with a big cult fan base overseas, where it has already become a bona fide blockbuster. The R-rated film pulled in $19.5 million in its opening weekend in North American theaters thanks to a fantastic $12,213 per-screen average in 1,600 theaters. That figure gives the movie the highest domestic per-screen average since Sonic the Hedgehog 14 months ago.

Overseas, Demon Slayer already qualifies as a box-office juggernaut—especially in the anime-friendly territory of Japan, where it become the country’s highest-grossing movie of all time. To date, Demon Slayer has accumulated $388.2 million internationally, which combined with its North American numbers puts it just past the $400 million milestone with $407.7 million. In other words, even if Americans hadn’t heard of Demon Slayer prior to this weekend, they sure know about it now.

In third place was Warner Bros.’ now-toppled kaiju kings, Godzilla vs. Kong, which collected another $4.2 million in its fourth frame. The titanic PG-13-rated tentpole lost some steam, dropping off -44.5% from the previous frame. The movie earned a $1,470 per-screen average in 2,856 theaters over the weekend despite being available on the HBO Max, where it will play free for subscribers through the end of April. Godzilla vs. Kong’s domestic total now stands at $86.6 million. And after adding the monster mash-up’s $320 million in overseas receipts, it finally pushed past the $400 million mark worldwide—the first major-studio release to pull off that feat since Bad Boys For Life 15 months ago.

In fourth place was Universal’s Nobody. The bullet-riddled action flick about a suburban dad-turned-vigilante (Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk) added just under $1.9 million its fifth session. The R-rated film slipped -25.6% from the previous weekend and managed an $825 per-screen average in 2,252 theaters (it’s also available on premium VOD as of last week), bringing its domestic box office total to $21.7 million. Outside of North America, the movie has tacked on $16.5 million, bringing its total worldwide gross to $38.2 million.

Rounding out the Top Five was Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. In its eighth week, the PG-rated computer-animated adventure padded its take with a hair under $1.7 million domestically, falling -12.6% from the previous weekend. Despite also being available as a premium VOD rental on the Disney+ streaming platform for a $30 fee, the film had a $923 per-screen average in 1,819 theaters, bringing its domestic box-office total to $39.8 million. Overseas, Raya has amassed $72.1 million to date, pushing its current worldwide total to approximately $111.9 million.

The weekend’s only other debut of note was Bleecker Street’s quirky indie Together Together. The R-rated dramatic comedy about a female loner who agrees to be a surrogate for a man in his 40s opened in eighth place, pulling in $522,440 in limited release. The film, which made its premiere at Sundance, unspooled in 665 theaters and earned a $785 per-screen average. It has not opened internationally yet.