Instead, the Universal Pictures release looks to be defeated by “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero,” a manga adaptation from Crunchyroll, a company that specializes in Japanese anime movies and television. The PG-13 “Super Hero” is targeting $13 million to $15 million in its opening weekend as it touches down on 3,900 North American screens. It marks the widest release ever for Crunchyroll.
Anime films have been increasingly popular in the United States, and Crunchyroll, which is mostly owned by Sony Pictures, has been at the forefront. Earlier this year, the studio’s PG-13 “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” notched a remarkable $17.6 million in its debut, while the company’s 2021 release “Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train” nabbed $21.2 million to start, a huge result at a time when cinemas were operating at reduced capacity.
Impressively, “Super Hero” looks to improve on its predecessor, 2018’s “Dragon Ball Super: Broly,” which earned $9.8 million in its first three days of release and ended the Martin Luther King holiday weekend with $11.9 million. Like most anime films in North America, “Broly” generated the bulk of its revenues in its first weekend, tapping out with $30 million stateside and $115 million worldwide.
Already, “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” has generated $18 million at the international box office. It will continue its overseas rollout over the weekend in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Variety’s critic Michael Nordine called the film — which was directed by Tetsuro Kodama — “solid fan service.”
“First-timers may be lost, but longtime ‘Dragon Ball’ devotees will feel right at home in this strange world,” he wrote in his review. That being said, he adds, “There’s a good chance you know more about ‘Dragon Ball’ than you think you do.”
Though cinema operators were hoping for at least one sleeper hit to close out the surprisingly strong summer season, “Beast” instead looks to continue a downbeat August at the box office. The movie, which is playing in 3,500 North American theaters over the weekend, already launched overseas with $4.9 million to date. It cost $36 million to produce.
Directed by Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur (“Adrift”), “Beast” follows a recently widowed father and his two teenage daughters (Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries), who find themselves hunted by a massive rogue lion.
In limited release, IFC Films is opening the comedy “Spin Me Round,” starring Aubrey Plaza and Alison Brie; while Vertical Entertainment is premiering the crime drama “Delia’s Gone,” with Paul Walter Hauser and Marisa Tomei.