Whoa, Dragon Ball Super: Broly Just Had A Huge Opening Weekend

Dragon Ball Super Broly poster art

This weekend's box office may have been topped by Glass, but that wasn't the weekend's real winner. The real win came from Dragon Ball Super: Broly, an anime film that shocked everybody by picking up third place in the box office tallies behind Glass and The Upside. What makes the feat even more impressive for the niche property is that the movie did so well, bringing in over $10 million, even though it opened in a fraction of the number of theaters as the competition.

This weekend was expected to be a big weekend for M. Night Shyamalan's Glass and it certainly was that. However, the surprise came from not from the $40 million that Glass brought in, but from the $10 million take from Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Odds are, unless you're a serious Dragon Ball fan, you didn't even know such a movie was opening last week. Technically, the film opened Wednesday and in that time it's actually brought in a total of over $20 million, earning about half of the total over the past weekend. The fact that a movie that most people would completely overlook did so well is impressive enough on its own. The fact that it did so well when it only showed a little over 1200 screens, when nearly every other movie in the top 10 was on twice as many or more, makes it all the more amazing.

As another point of comparison, Dragonball Evolution, the Hollywood live-action take on the material from 2009 only grossed a little over $9 million during its entire run, so the new anime film did better than that in a weekend. That movie was so bad the screenwriter has since apologized for it.

It would be easy to chock up the film's success to the lack of competition, every other major release stayed away from this weekend and Glass was the only major new release, but that doesn't seem fair. An animated Dragon Ball movie isn't the sort of thing that moviegoers are going to go check out simply because there's nothing else they want to see. It's a movie people are going to make a point to check out, or not go at all. Either you understand what the title means or you don't. The fact that the film was on fewer screens, and thus some of the audience likely had to go more out of their way to see it, only reinforces that.

Anime, in general, doesn't do incredibly well at the North American box office. Dragon Ball Super: Broly's $21 million domestic already makes it the third highest grossing anime ever, behind a pair of Pokemon movies from the turn of the last century. We'll have to wait and see if Dragon Ball keeps going with its success and becomes the top grossing anime or if this was just a single weekend anomaly.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.