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Media & Entertainment

'Demon Slayer' breaks box office record held by 'Spirited Away'

Manga-based film rakes in over $95m in first 10 days in Japan

A character from the blockbuster "Demon Slayer" manga series (Koyoharu Gotoge/Shueisha, Aniplex, ufotable via Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- An animated movie based on the blockbuster "Demon Slayer" manga series has broken box-office records in Japan as the first film ever to rake in over 10 billion yen ($95.3 million) within 10 days of opening, its distributors said Monday.

The movie, a sequel to an anime television series that aired in Japan last year, has generated box-office sales of over 10.75 billion yen at 403 theaters across Japan, drawing 7.98 million viewers from its Oct. 16 premiere through Sunday, according to co-distributors Aniplex Inc. and Toho Co.

The previous record was held by director Hayao Miyazaki's "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi" (Spirited Away), which took 25 days to pull in box-office sales of 10 billion yen, eventually chalking up 30.8 billion yen in Japan.

Fans are watching closely to see if the movie from anime studio Ufotable Inc. will overtake Miyazaki's 2001 animated film as the highest grossing Japanese movie in history.

Titled "Demon Slayer -- Kimetsu no Yaiba -- The Movie: Mugen Train" and directed by Haruo Sotozaki, the movie also set a ticket sale record of 4.62 billion yen in the first three days.

A theater in Tokyo's Shinjuku shows the hit "Demon Slayer" movie. (Photo by Shihoko Nakaoka)

The tale, set in Japan around 100 years ago of an adolescent boy fighting human-eating demons after his family is slaughtered and his younger sister Nezuko is turned into a demon, is based on a 2016 manga series by Koyoharu Gotoge.

The manga series, now a global hit, has been translated into 14 languages and is available in 33 countries and regions, according to publisher Shueisha Inc.

The TV series, dubbed in eight languages and subtitled in 13, is also being streamed online in about 110 countries, Aniplex said. It won Anime of the Year in an annual awards contest presented by U.S. anime streaming service Crunchyroll in February.

The movie centers on the hero Tanjiro Kamado's efforts to save the lives of passengers aboard the "Mugen Train," named after the Japanese word for infinity, on which countless people have gone missing.

Its English-dubbed and subtitled versions are slated to hit movie theaters in North America in early 2021, after a similar launch in Taiwan from Oct. 30, according to Aniplex.

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