Box Office: Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Taming Beast With Projected $21 Million Opening

Just as it looked like the summer movie season was winding down without any well-loved franchises in sight, “Dragon Ball” has come to town.

“Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” looks to top domestic box office charts for the weekend after scoring $10.7 million on its opening day. The Crunchyroll release is projecting a $20 million opening from 3,007 locations, which marks the widest release ever for the distributor. It’s also the widest release ever for an anime film, which includes a massive footprint in premium format auditoriums like Imax, 4DX and Dolby Cinemas.

The debut marks a notable uptick from the $9.8 million domestic opening scored by 2018’s “Dragon Ball Super: Broly,” the preceding entry in the saga. It’s also a comparable figure to the $18 million debut enjoyed by Funimation’s “Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie” in March of this year. Both comparisons illustrate how anime features have taken on a sizable domestic audience over the past few years, with new releases carrying enough event status to draw fans of their respective properties to theaters.

“Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” follows two warriors, Piccolo and Gohan, as they face down an attack by a pair of ultimate Androids that call themselves “Super Heroes” and combat the schemes of the villainous Red Ribbon Army. The film is the 21st “Dragon Ball” film overall, but only the second to carry the “Super” title. It has already grossed about ¥2.4 billion (or $18 million) since opening in June in Japan.

In his Variety review, Michael Nordine called the film “solid fan service,” but warned that this should not be viewers’ first entry into the “Dragon Ball” universe. “The likes of Goku, Piccolo and Vegeta are all back, and though they’re compelling characters, much of what they do here has weight because of their individual and shared histories,” Nordine wrote.

It looks like “Beast” will lag behind for a second place finish. Universal’s thriller earned $4.2 million on Friday, projecting a $10.1 million debut. That’s in line with estimates heading into the weekend, thought it’s still a so-so figure for “Beast,” which cost $36 million to produce.

“Beast” carries a middling 68% approval rating from critics on review-aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. General moviegoers were about as responsive, with the film landing a “B” grade through research firm Cinema Score. While those figures aren’t too shabby for a lean man-vs.-beast thriller hitting theaters at the tail end of summer, they don’t exactly seem auspicious for the film’s box office prospects moving forward.

“Beast” sees Idris Elba as a doctor who is forced to face off with a very pissed off (and entirely CGI) lion to protect his daughters, played by Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries. Baltasar Kormákur, who helmed other Universal films like “2 Guns” and “Contraband,” directs.

More to come…

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