The Demon Slayer Movie Is Already Making Waves in the U.S.

All aboard the money train!
All aboard the money train!
Image: Toho

Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train already made waves in its home territory as large as its name is long last year, as Japan’s most financially successful movie in the country’s box office history. It’s only been out in the United States for a weekend, and it’s already breaking records here too.


Funimation (distributing Mugen Train alongside Aniplex) announced that the film grossed just over $21 million in its opening weekend. Directed by Haruo Sotozaki, Mugen Train is set after the events of the first season of the anime adaptation of Koyoharu Gotōge’s manga series. The film sees protagonist Tanjiro Kamado (Natsuki Hanae/Zach Aguilar) and his allies board the titular train to assist master demon hunter Kyōjurō Rengoku (Satoshi Hino/Mark Whitten) in tracking down a ferocious demon responsible for killing many of Tanjiro and Kyōjurō’s fellow slayers.

Although Warner Bros.’ release of Mortal Kombat just snuck past it for the weekend’s #1 spot, coming in with $22.5 million, Mugen Train’s opening is not just impressive considering the theater industry is still in the process of building back up during the covid-19 pandemic, it’s record-breaking. The debut makes Mugen Train the most successful opening weekend for a foreign film, live-action or animated, in U.S. history.

Mugen Train’s limited release, pandemic or otherwise, likely means it won’t have the same box office staying power as it has in Japan but nevertheless, it’s an impressive debut—and a testament to the series overwhelming popularity with audiences outside of Japan.

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James is a News Editor at io9, where you can find him delivering your morning spoilers, writing about superheroes, and having many feelings about Star Wars. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!


If I'm not Ryan, I'm lyin'

Hearing about this movie has brought up something I never understood about anime fandom. I always hear fans generally excited about anime movies, but fandoms also bemoan filler arcs in the series itself. Why? From a narrative standpoint neither impacts the main story.

Is it simply because movies have a higher budget? Do movies have more creator involvement? Is it because filler arcs take longer to get through? Am I hearing from two distinct groups of a fandom?