demon slayer mugen train us theaters

The battle of the highest-grossing movie in Japan was once fought between critically acclaimed titans of anime — Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-winning Spirited Away kept the title for years before being temporarily toppled by Makoto Shinkai’s sensational Your Name. But in 2020, another anime film obliterated Japanese box office records, becoming the highest-grossing movie in the country, and becoming the fourth highest-grossing film of 2020 (just outgrossing Tenet) even amid a global pandemic. It’s an anime film with a mouthful of a title and not much of a bearing to regular U.S. moviegoers: Demon Slayer – Kimetsu No Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train. And now, it’s coming to U.S. theaters.

Aniplex of America and Funimation announced that they are teaming up for the North American release of Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, which is officially set to open in U.S. theaters on April 23.

Directed by Haruo SotozakiDemon Slayer: Mugen Train is a sequel to the ongoing anime series which adapts the popular manga series by Koyoharu Gotouge which follows a young boy named Tanjiro who joins an elite group of demon slayers in order to find a cure for his sister after she is turned into a demon. The Demon Slayer anime debuted in 2019 and was an instant hit, praised for its sleek animation by studio ufotable.

The film acts as a bridge between the first and upcoming second season of Demon Slayer, which perhaps explains its sensational box office success: breaking the the $100 million milestone in Japan in just 10 days, and grossing nearly $400 million in the country alone, beating out Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and Titanic for the all-time record.  That’s the best reason I can give for its success (I can’t imagine regular Japanese moviegoers who aren’t fans of the anime flocking to buy tickets for the R-rated flick). And though it might irk me a little that an all-time classic like Spirited Away has been surpassed by a big-budget chapter in a popular ongoing anime, it doesn’t seem to be bothering Miyazaki, who in hilariously typical fashion, couldn’t care less.

Demon Slayer: Mugen Train will be shown in both 4DX and IMAX, and both subtitled and English dubbed versions. According to Aniplex and Funimation, those interested in watching Mugen Train at home will have to wait until June 22, when digital purchase and rentals will be distributed on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, the Microsoft Store, Vudu, and the PlayStation Store. Pre-orders start April 26.

Season 1 of Demon Slayer is available to stream on Netflix, so there’s still time to catch up before the film hits theaters on April 23, 2021.

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