August has always been a ghost town for movies. The biggest blockbusters have already opened; people are presumed to be movied out. It’s when studios dump more modestly budgeted pictures, like this weekend’s Beast. It can also be a chance for underdog to slip in there and make more money than one would expect. Such is the case with Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.
As per Deadline, the latest anime film from the ever-expanding media empire was a surprise box office champ, opening to $20.1 million. That’s almost double what the weekend’s other big release, the Idris Elba killer lion thriller Beast, managed to haul, namely $11.5 million. It also greatly eclipsed heavy hitters like Bullet Train and even the summer’s big winner, Top Gun: Maverick.
The box office win is another biggie for its distributor, Crunchyroll (né Funimation), the anime and dorama streamer owned by Sony. Last spring, when theaters were still coping with hesitant audiences, they almost topped New Line’s Mortal Kombat with Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, which managed to come in second for the weekend with $21.2 million. They’ve managed to score these hits without traditional television advertising, making it all the more impressive and surprising those who expected the weekend to belong to a movie where a long-hoped-for James Bond fights giant animals.