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'Demon Slayer' overtakes 'Mortal Kombat' at U.S. box office

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By Rebecca Rubin

After narrowly losing first place in its opening weekend, "Demon Slayer: Mugen Train" has surged ahead of "Mortal Kombat" on U.S. box office charts.

The anime action adventure "Demon Slayer" is expected to end the weekend with $6.4 million in ticket sales, while "Mortal Kombat" trails closely behind with $6.2 million between Friday and Sunday. Both films debuted last weekend and dipped roughly 70% from their initial outings.

In normal times, those figures would have been somewhat disappointing for nationwide releases but during a pandemic, it's not a terrible result. Still, it leaves lingering questions about when moviegoing will return in earnest -- and if upcoming potential blockbusters like "A Quiet Place Part II," Marvel's "Black Widow" and "Fast and Furious" sequel "F9" will premiere as expected this summer.

"Demon Slayer," which is playing in 1,915 North American venues, has earned an impressive $34.1 million in the U.S. and Canada to date. The film, from Funimation and Aniplex, has surpassed "Dragon Ball: Super Broly" ($30 million) to become the third-highest grossing anime title in North America.

Overseas, the latest "Demon Slayer" has already set several box office records. In Japan, it has become the highest-grossing movie ever with ticket sales surpassing $368 million. It's also the highest-grossing anime film ever with $423 million globally.

"Mortal Kombat," a martial arts-inspired adaptation of the popular video game, has grossed $34 million in two weeks. Those receipts are notable because the Warner Bros. release is playing simultaneously on HBO Max. The studio's entire 2021 slate, including "In the Heights" and "The Suicide Squad," is following a similar rollout pattern.

Internationally, where HBO Max has yet to launch, "Mortal Kombat" hasn't been well embraced by audiences. It added another$3 million this weekend for a total haul of $32.8 million. Worldwide, "Mortal Kombat" has passed $66 million in ticket sales.

In third place, "Godzilla vs. Kong," a Warner Bros and Legendary film, collected $2.7 million from 2,753 screens. That brings its domestic total to $90 million. The monster mashup has become a hit overseas, where it has grossed $325 million, pushing its global bounty to $415 million.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

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