‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’ Has Expectations Shattering $20.1 Million Debut, ‘Beast’ Has A Quiet Roar With $11.6 Million
After five weekends in a row of box-office decline and a gloomy season ahead, this weekend saw a bit of an upswing, led by the latest entry in the hugely popular anime franchise Dragon Ball. The overall box office came in at $72.5 million, up $8.2 million from last weekend, and while this weekend sits among the lowest grossing in recent pre-pandemic years, it was still above expectations and may be the best weekend we see for the next eight weeks.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero came in first with a prediction-beating $20.1 million, more than doubling the opening of its predecessor Dragon Ball Super: Broly ($9.8 million) in 2018. Super Hero’s opening is a frontloaded affair, with more than half of the gross coming from Thursday previews and Friday, but it’s hardly something to be let down by given the weekend numbers. Super Hero even broke the nearly 33-year-long dry spell with no anime since Pokémon: The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back opening to number one.

Crunchyroll pulled out all stops for Super Hero, giving it the widest release ever for an anime with 3,900 screens, including IMAX (which made up 16.9% of the domestic gross) and other Premium Large Formats (with the PLFs altogether making up around 40% of the gross). The opening came in just behind that of Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train, which opened to $21.2 million in April 2021. Demon Slayer is a good comp going from here, and that film had a strong domestic cume of $49.5 million, which remains the second biggest for an anime after Pokémon: The First Movie’s $85.7 million. The weekend’s global total from 31 markets is $32 million, adding to the $18 million cume from Japan where the film opened in June.

Second place went to the other newcomer Beast. The Idris Elba starring man vs lion tale didn’t open with much of a roar, bringing in a so-so $11.6 million from 3,743 screens, right in line with expectations but still hard to feel great about given its $36 million budget. Universal’s film won’t become the next big late-summer horror movie, and it fell below the alligator creature-feature comp Crawl, which opened to $12 million in July 2019. That film more than tripled its opening for a $39 million cume, but despite receiving the same B CinemaScore, such legs are unlikely for Beast as it only has two more theatrical exclusive weekends before hitting PVOD. The film brought in an additional $10.3 million from seven international markets.

Bullet Train came in third place with an $8 million third weekend. The 40% drop was the largest in the top ten, and the total is now $69 million. It is still pacing roughly on par with The Lost City, which had a $68.7 million cume after its third weekend and finished with $105 million domestically. Internationally Bullet Train brought in another $12.1 million, down 29% from last weekend, and the global cume is now $150 million. The film releases next weekend in South Korea and Italy, and it opens September 1st in Japan.

Top Gun: Maverick came in fourth place with $5.85 million (a 17.1% drop, the smallest in the top ten) for a cume of $683 million, and on Friday it flew past Avengers: Infinity War ($679 million) to become the sixth biggest domestic grosser ever. The next target is fifth place, currently held by Black Panther with $700 million. Globally it has narrowly edged out Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.402 billion) to become the 12th highest grosser of all time.

Finishing up the top five is DC League of Super-Pets, which saw $5.78 million in its fourth weekend, a drop of 17.5%. The $67.5 million cume keeps it on track with The Bad Guys, which finished weekend four with $66.4 million before closing with $96.7 million. Internationally Super-Pets dropped 23% from holdover markets and brought in another $6 million for a global cume of $130 million. The holds here are strong, but the $90 million budget is still a ways off from being recouped. Japan, Italy, and Australia will all get the film in the next month.

Notable outside the top five is Minions: The Rise of Gru in eighth place with $3.52 million and a $350 million cume. It remains neck-and-neck with Despicable Me 2, at $350.7 after its eighth weekend. The second film in the franchise remains the biggest domestic grosser with $368 million, and Rise of Gru has a good shot at topping it, with legs that appear more durable. DM2’s eighth weekend gross was $2.6 million, and the weekday grosses on that film are also behind those of Rise of Gru. More significantly, though, is the film’s China opening this weekend, which is the only second Hollywood release of the summer, the other being Jurassic World Dominion. Unfortunately, the numbers have declined significantly from the last two entries in the series, opening to just $11.6 million. It’s tracking closely with Despicable Me 2 which had a cume of $53 million in the market, but it will fall short of Minions ($68.9 million) and won’t even come close to Despicable Me 3 ($158 million). At $834 million worldwide, though, Rise of Gru is doing just fine without a large gross from China.

Bodies Bodies Bodies came right at the end of the top ten as it expanded to 2,541 screens and grossed $2.41 million. With the total now at $7.44 million, it looks like it could beat A24’s horror film X ($11.8 million) to become the second biggest film of the year for the distributor, behind only the arthouse smash Everything Everywhere All at Once ($69.8 million).