Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Tops The Box Office, Proves Audiences Are Starved For Big Movies

Despite the presence of two big new wide release movies that were cut from wildly different cloths, it was yet another relatively quiet weekend at the box office. "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" arrived to give the anime crowd something to enjoy, while Idris Elba's "Beast" was going after the thriller crowd. However, it was anime that won the day, affirming that serving underserved audiences can indeed be a profitable endeavor. At the same time, it also proved that average moviegoers are downright starved for big movies right now and it's going to be a long couple of months until "Black Adam" arrives to bring the blockbuster crowds back out. 

Let's dig into the numbers, shall we?

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero did super good and topped the charts

According to Box Office Mojo, "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" easily took the number one spot this past weekend with a $20.1 million haul. Crunchyroll distributed the film in over 3,000 theaters, and, as has happened a few times over the past couple years, anime fans turned up in a big way. Similarly, "Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie" and "Demon Slayer" swooped into North American theaters to unexpectedly draw big crowds. Anime has become huge in the U.S. over the years, so much so that movies like this can now sell enough tickets to top the charts. It's downright impressive.

The key is that these audiences have been underserved, but they are loyal. The only downside is that these movies often drop off the charts quickly. Still, adding new kinds of programming that works is a great way to bolster the box office overall and it's good for everyone: moviegoers, distributors, studios. There is no downside. Though it does highlight a glaring issue that has emerged this month.

After a particularly robust summer at the box office in 2022, things have slowed down dramatically. Not quite to a grinding halt, but without more huge movies to get the average moviegoers out en masse, Hollywood is in a slump. A big movie (or at the very least other different types of movies) could have room to run right now, but "Dragon Ball" is left to win the day. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I would argue that the viewers who made that a hit would have turned up either way. Meanwhile, lots of people chose to stay home instead. Studios missed a hole to fill and there was no good reason not to fill it. A lesson learned heading into 2023, hopefully.

Idris Elba's Beast didn't roar loud enough

Universal Pictures tried their best to fill the hole on the release calendar with "Beast," a movie that sees Idris Elba duking it out with a man-killing lion In Africa. Unfortunately, it was a distant second on the charts, earning $11.5 million from more than 3,700 theaters. That means it made a little more than half of what "Dragon Ball" did on a lot more screens. That math isn't great for Universal, especially since the film cost $36 million to produce, which does not account for marketing costs. Overseas, it earned $10.2 million for a total of $21.8 million, but it still has a long way to go before the studio can even begin to think of this as a profitable endeavor. 

It's a real shame as Elbra has rarely had the chance to lead a studio film, typically being part of an ensemble instead. In my very humble opinion, Universal might have done well to play up the monster movie angle, throw some red lettering on the poster, and go for the horror-loving crowd with this one. But what do I know? It did, at least, manage to kick "Bullet Train" to the number three spot, with Brad Pitt's latest taking in another $8 million after topping the charts in its first two weeks of release. The ensemble action flick is a hair shy of $150 million worldwide, but the problem remains its unfortunately large $90 million budget.

Top Gun: Maverick overtakes Age of Ultron

In other news, "Top Gun: Maverick" continued to break records this weekend as the Tom Cruise sequel added another $5.8 million to its ever-growing total domestically, which was good enough for the number four spot. The bigger story though is that the film has now ascended even further up the all-time charts, overtaking "Avengers: Age of Ultron."

"Maverick" had already passed "Avengers: Infinity War" domestically but, as of this writing, the sequel to the '80s classic has amassed $1.403 billion, which puts it just above 2015's "Age of Ultron," which earned $1.402 billion. That means, "Maverick" is now at number 12 all time behind "Frozen II" ($1.45 billion). It is becoming increasingly unlikely that the film will move any further up the charts, but it would be hard to count it out at this point.

And the rest...

The only other new release arriving in enough theaters to matter this week was "Orphan: First Kill," the prequel to 2009's "Orphan" that is mostly being used as a streaming play for Paramount+. It did, however, earn $1.67 million in 498 theaters coming in at number 12 on the charts. Not for nothing, but it had a better per-screen average than "Beast" and it was available to stream from the comfort of home. It's not going to be a big moneymaker, but it might have been worth consideration for a wider release before going to streaming.

"DC League of Super-Pets" rounded out the top five with $5.7 million in its fourth weekend. The animated superhero flick sits at $130 million globally and, much like "Bullet Train," its $90 million budget sticks out like a sore thumb. This one isn't going to pan out for Warner Bros. during its theatrical run. "Thor: Love and Thunder" was just behind that in the number six spot with $4 million, bringing its running total to $737 million worldwide. It may not be as beloved as "Ragnarok," but it's doing great business.

Jordan Peele's "Nope" was behind "Thor" with $3.54 million, now sitting at $133 million worldwide. Its international grosses remain tiny at $19.2 million, which is a real shame. "Minions: The Rise of Gru" was close behind with $3.52 million as the animated flick now sits at $833 million globally. A huge winner for Universal, to be certain.

Rounding out the top ten were "Where the Crawdads Sing" with $3.1 million. The movie has quietly amassed just shy of $100 million, making it a sneaky big hit for Sony, given its $24 million budget. Lastly, A24's "Bodies Bodies Bodies" added $2.4 million for a $7.4 million running total. It's not a breakout hit, but it's keeping itself alive for now.