Anime Demon Slayer becomes Japan’s highest-grossing film, bumping Spirited Away from the top spot after 19 years

After nearly two decades as Japan’s biggest box office hit, the Studio Ghibli anime Spirited Away has been bumped from the top spot by Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train.

Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 beloved classic about the adventures of a 10-year-old girl named Chichiro in the world of the gods and spirits has a devoted and worldwide fanbase.

The film grossed a previously unbeaten box office record in Japan, exceeding 31 billion Yen (approximately £221.4m). It became the first anime film to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Since its release 19 years ago, the film has remained the country’s biggest box office hit – until this weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

As of Sunday (27 December), Demon Slayer has surpassed the movie’s record to become the country’s newest highest-grossing film.

<p>Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train</p>

Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train

(Aniplex / Ufotable Studio / Youtube)

Directed by Haruo Sotozaki, Demon Slayer is based on the popular 2016 manga of the same name by artist Koyoharu Gotouge. The comic has already received one hugely successful television adaptation.

Now, the big-screen adaptation – which hit Japanese cinemas in October – has generated ticket sales of 32.47 billion Yen (approximately £232m), as reported by the film’s official Twitter account.

The box office triumph comes as a surprise given the pandemic-affected conditions that the movie was released into. 

Although Japan has had relatively low rates of coronavirus infection and the country’s cinemas are reopened following a brief closure earlier this year, the success of Demon Slayer during the ongoing pandemic is still noteworthy.

The film tells the story of a young boy Tanjiro Kamado and his sister Nezuko Kamado after they find their family slaughtered by demons. It follows the pair as they embark on a quest to fight demons and save Nezuko from a curse.

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