Demon Slayer zooms in Japan's box office amid pandemic

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
New Delhi Published: Oct 30, 2020, 10.09 PM(IST)

Demon Slayer movie blazes in Japan Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The Japanese are swarming movie theatres with full houses in the middle of a pandemic. It's a new frenzy all thanks to one movie - Demon Slayer.

A movie in Japan is single-handedly filling cinema halls across the country. It's called the Demon Slayer, within 10 days of its release the movie has raced to $95 million in box office collections which is a record in Japan.

The Japanese are swarming movie theatres with full houses in the middle of a pandemic. It's a new frenzy all thanks to one movie - Demon Slayer. The title doesn't leave much room for explanation. The movie is about a boy who turns into a demon slayer after his family is killed, since its release the movie has also been slaying the box office.

In just ten days, Demon Slayer grossed $95 million which is the fastest Japanese film to do so, second on the list - is 'Spirited Away' which took 25 days to to reach the same milestone.

There are a couple of reasons for its success. Japan has always loved the Demon Slayer series. It first emerged as a comic in 2016, the publishers ended up selling more than 100 million copies.

In 2019, Demon Slayer came to television and it was an immediate success even Netflix bought the streaming rights turning Demon Slayer into a global phenomenon. While the movie's box office numbers seem staggering, it was along expected lines and the lack of competition also helped.

Big-ticket movies like James Bond and Fast and Furious have been delayed. Japanese moviegoers were eagerly waiting for a release and along came Demon Slayer. In the first three days of screening, it raked in $44 million as some cinema halls ran up to 40 shows on opening day.

Cinema chains in Japan were struggling to stay open. The government never ordered them to shut but it proved impossible to sustain a business without new releases. However, Demon Slayer's glorious run at the box office is bound to end soon, so what happens then? Enter merchandise. Retail chains are capitalising on the craze. Demon Slayer-themed merchandise is disappearing off the shelves in the form of clothes, toys, stationaries and even food.

The Demon Slayer has saved Japan but what about the rest of the world? Unfortunately, the forecast is not so rosy as India recently reopened its cinema halls but the response has been lukewarm.

Hollywood-is dealing with a whole different issue with Americans losing interest in theatres. They would much rather prefer to stay home and stream the content. 
It reflects in the numbers as well. Netflix's annual revenue is more than the US box office collections. Major cinema operators have seen $7 billion of market capital vanish as the lockdown stretches on the question is not whether people will watch movies, it's whether they will still go to cinemas to watch them.

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