Idris Elba may go head-to-head with a lion in “Beast,” but the action flick was no match for the latest “Dragon Ball” movie at the North American box office this weekend.
“Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” topped the charts in its first weekend in theaters, with $20.1 million in ticket sales according to studio estimates on Sunday. “Beast,” meanwhile, settled for a second-place debut with $11.6 million.
Crunchyroll released “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” on 3,900 screens in North America, marking the widest-ever opening for an anime. The Toei Animation production was directed by Tetsuro Kodama, who had the support of “Dragon Ball” creator Akira Toriyama. The Dragon Ball universe is almost 40 years old, and includes manga, television shows, movies, games and toys.
“We’re absolutely thrilled that Dragon Ball fans could come together to experience and enjoy this amazing film in theaters,” said Mitchel Berger, senior vice president of global commerce for the distributor, in a statement. “Crunchyroll thanks all of the fans, whether or not you are a ‘super’ fan or a newcomer, and we hope they come back again and again.”
According to PostTrak, the “Dragon Ball Super” audience was heavily male (79%) and 44% between the ages of 25 and 34.
“Japanese anime is a cinematic tradition, but rarely do you see a movie like this topping the domestic chart,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “To be ahead of all these other mainstream Hollywood movies is quite incredible. It speaks volumes to the globalization of the box office.”
“Beast,” meanwhile, opened on 3,743 screens in North America. The film, directed by Baltasar Kormákur (“Everest”) stars Elba as a widowed father of two teenage girls, played by Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries, who find themselves on the run from a bloodthirsty lion during a trip to South Africa.
Including international showings, “Beast” has made $21.8 million so far.
“I think this is a terrific start for ‘Beast,’” said Jim Orr, Universal’s head of domestic distribution. “I believe we will have a great run at the box office.”
Elba also has another film opening in theaters next weekend — George Miller’s fantasy epic “Three Thousand Years of Longing.”
Sony’s “Bullet Train,” meanwhile, landed in third place after two weekends at No. 1 with an estimated $8 million, bringing its domestic total to $68.9 million. Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” placed fourth in its 13th weekend in theaters with an additional $5.9 million. “Top Gun” has made over $683 million in North America to date, which was was enough to overtake “Avengers: Infinity War” as the sixth highest grossing domestic release of all time. “DC League of Super-Pets” rounded out the top five.
Paramount also released “Orphan: First Kill” on Paramount+ and in 498 locations this weekend. The Esther origin story made an estimated $1.7 million from theaters.
The weekend overall saw about $77 million in North American ticket sales — up over 168% from the same weekend last year— bringing the year to date to $5.2 billion, according to Comscore. But the summer movie season continues a wind down that may last deep into the fall.
“It’s not that there’s not going to be any movies, there’s just not going to be a $100 million blockbuster for a while,” Dergarabedian said. “But in the interim, there’s going to be a lot of cool movies, like ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ (Sept. 23).”
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero,” $20.1 million.
2. “Beast,” $11.6 million.
3. “Bullet Train,” $8 million.
4. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $5.9 million.
5. “DC League of Super-Pets,” $5.8 million.
6. “Thor: Love and Thunder,” $4 million.
7. “Nope,” $3.6 million.
8. “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” $3.5 million.
9. “Where the Crawdads Sing,” $3.2 million.
10. “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” $2.4 million.
Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr