Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Is Number One At The Box Office This Weekend

In a rarity for the American box office, an anime movie is set to walk away from this weekend with the number one spot. "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" is projected to make $21 million by the end of the weekend, beating out competition including the weekend's only new release from a major studio, Universal's lion-fighting thriller "Beast."

The latest Dragon Ball movie has already surpassed expectations with a $10.7 million opening day, which dwarfs the last theatrically released film in the franchise. "Dragon Ball: Broly" premiered in 2019, and raked in just $9.8 million in its entire first weekend. If the film makes its projected gross this weekend, it'll be comparable to that of other recently successful anime films, including this spring's "Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie" ($18 million), and "Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train," which opened during a pandemic economy with a $21 million debut weekend.

Another win for anime fans

Of course, anime is a widely loved genre, and Dragon Ball in particular has had a long and impressive life as a franchise. The first "Dragon Ball" TV series began in 1986, and it's been a mainstay among fans of Japanese cartoons ever since. The latest feature-length installment follows martial artist Gohan and his erstwhile trainer Piccolo as they try to save the world from the Red Ribbon Army, a nefarious group that has shown up in "Dragon Ball" stories for decades now. The film released in Japan in June, meaning it's had plenty of time to garner good word-of-mouth among fans in the U.S.

While anime movies have certainly had box office success in America in the past, they rarely manage to win the weekend. Hits like 1999's "Pokemon: The First Movie," which made $31 million in theaters its first weekend and made a total of $85.7 million domestically, tend to be more the exception than the rule. "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" is aided by its wide availability, as it opened in 3007 locations this weekend, the most ever for a CrunchyRoll production.

The PG-13 film's success is a win for anime and adult animation, but it also continues this month's trend of a generally sluggish box office. "Beast," starringĀ Idris Elba, is projected to earn only $10.1 million, while the rest of the weekend's top five includes returning films like Brad Pitt-led "Bullet Train," animated family film "DC League of Super-Pets," and the seemingly unstoppable "Top Gun: Maverick."