Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba - To The Swordsmith Village Is Yet Another Win For Anime At The Box Office

It's the start of a new week, which means another anime film making big bucks at the box office. At this point, it shouldn't come as a big surprise that the release of an anime film, especially one based on a hugely popular TV show — let alone one as popular as "Demon Slayer" — would make bank, but here we are.

"Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba — To the Swordsmith Village" took the fourth spot at the domestic box office in its opening weekend with an estimated $10.12 million gross (via Box Office Mojo). This is just under "Cocaine Bear" and its $11 million haul in its second weekend. Indeed, the first weekend of March was a pretty great time for anime fans in general. Not only did we get a new "Demon Slayer" movie in theaters, but "Attack on Titan" made its triumphant return with the first half of its apocalyptic finale, and Michael B. Jordan's "Creed III" delivered tons of anime-inspired fights on its way to the top of the box office.

This is yet another reminder not to underestimate the power of anime at the box office. Granted, a lot of anime movies are extremely front-loaded, with most fans going to the theaters on opening weekend, rather than giving it repeat viewings. That said, it doesn't matter. What matters is that a lot of people are going to theaters and paying money to see movies like "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba — To the Swordsmith Village" even when they aren't really movies.

Shonen anime remains king, both in Japan and abroad

The thing about "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba — To the Swordsmith Village" is that, again, it isn't really a movie. Instead, it's a compilation movie comprised of the last two episodes of season 2, plus the first episode of the upcoming third season. Fans are storming theaters to literally watch 30 minutes of new footage they can watch in just over a month, when "Demon Slayer" comes back on April 9, 2023. As such, the film's success encapsulates everything about the power of the theatrical experience and its communal aspect. It would be easy to wait four weeks or so, but there are few things quite like watching an anime movie in a packed theater full of excited fans.

This is not as big an opening as "Demon Slayer: Mugen Train," but that film was composed of entirely new footage and there was no guarantee it would play on TV later on, so it felt even more like an event. Following "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" and "Jujutsu Kaisen 0,"  there is definitely a market, and a proven one at that, for turning shorter manga storylines into films rather than shorter seasons. This not only translates to a lot of money at the box office, but it gives animators time and resources to show off their skills.

If anything, this goes to show anime movies are finally getting the theatrical releases they deserve. Gone are the days when you'd be lucky to have a single screen showing an anime movie an hour's drive away from you. Now, they get wide releases so fans all over the U.S. get to share their fandom.