The long-awaited Jujutsu Kaisen 0 anime film finally arrived in US theaters this week. Early reports suggest it had a sensational opening weekend, with box office analysts estimating it to have taken in $17.6 million, making it the second most popular movie of the weekend, behind batman. This is an amazing achievement, and these box office figures show how anime has gone from being a rare curiosity to becoming serious at the box office.
Originally titled Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 It is based on a manga written by Gege Akutami. Set before the events of the hit anime, the film tells the story of Yuta Okkotsu, a young man who is sent to a magic school after acquiring a powerful but dangerous spirit. The school officials hope that this education will allow Yuta to control his powers, while allowing them to keep an eye on him.
Historically, anime films have not done well in the ticket office American. Even what are now considered classics have had terrible results in the United States. The great works of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli may be highly praised and sell out theaters when they are re-broadcast today, but on their initial release they were mostly overlooked. Princess Mononoke, for example, from 1999, only grossed $2.2 million during its first eight weeks in theaters. Spirited Away, often considered the quintessential Ghibli film, did not fare much better, only bringing in about $450,000 in its opening weekend in 2002. In fact, the film didn’t receive much attention until it won the award. for best animated film at the 2003 Oscars.
The only movies that broke this trend were the Pokémon movies. Thanks to the popularity of video games and dubbing, the movies were successful at the box office. 1999’s Pokémon grossed $31 million in its opening weekend, and its sequel, Pokémon 2000, earned more than $19 million in its opening weekend.
However, with the passage of time, anime movies have been getting better at the box office. For example, 2015’s Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ made over $2 million during its opening weekend alone. And of course, 2020’s Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train cemented anime cinema in the American consciousness, making over $19.5 million in its opening weekend and setting a record for best anime. opening for a foreign language film released in North America in the process.
However, it should be noted that anime movies are not only making more money. They are also getting more flashy premieres, showing that anime as a whole has grown in popularity. For example, the first Ghibli films were only released in a few art house theaters, and Spirited Away was only shown in 26 venues, a far cry from Jujutsu Kaisen 0’s 2,336 theaters. Most other anime films were only released as special events, with limited screenings and short engagements rather than full theatrical releases.