EXCLUSIVE: Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F has been on a hard-charging run since opening on Tuesday with a whopping $1.97M in only 895 theaters. FUNimation, the company behind the marketing and distribution of the film here, now could become the first independent to have a picture in the Top 10 Anime releases domestically.
The anime actioner has made just over $4M in three days, putting the Japanese fan favorite on a course that could see it rise over Howl’s Moving Castle’s lifetime domestic gross; ranks No. 10 in the Top Anime releases domestically with $4.7M. All the more remarkable as it only is getting a sporadic, week-only run. Howl’s Moving Castle, from beloved Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki, was also released by a major studio (Disney) in summer of 2005 and played for weeks to get that $4.7M domestic gross. No. 9 is Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises which has a domestic gross of $5.2M — also released by Disney and played for weeks.
The latest film in the Dragon Ball franchise, which was originally a TV show with characters created by created by Akira Toriyama, grabbed another $1.55M in 901 locales on Wednesday night. Last night, even though it dropped 654 theaters to play in only 246 locales in the U.S. and in 54 theaters in Canada, it nabbed a combined box office of $510K ($400K from the U.S., $110K from Canada) to put the movie over $4M at the box office.
What’s noteworthy is that even though FUNimation Entertainment had to drop the bigger chain theaters last night to make way for the large studio films, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F only dropped 6% from Wednesday and still managed to show its power for a decent $1,629 per screen average.
The strength of the performance, in fact, has had theater managers giving them remnant times throughout the day. “Because of the performance of this picture, theaters are adding showtimes where they can,” said Michael DuBoise, exec VP and chief operating officer of FUNimation who oversees marketing and distribution. DuBoise and his team came from Universal Home Entertainment. How satisfying for them to have seen the international performance of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F as it went head to head with Universal’s Fast & Furious 7 in Japan and won out, scoring the biggest opening in the country of 2015. No worries as FUNimation has sealed a multi-year home video deal with the studio to handle this particular picture.
And the event-style release put in place by the folks at FUNimation is a true roller coaster ride. The rest of the release schedule for the anime surprise is as follows: Tonight theaters go dark to make way for the studio films but Saturday it comes back with a vengeance with 922 U.S. theaters and 42 locations in Canada (most plays are in the afternoon).
Sunday it will drop theaters and go back down to 154 locales. There are no playtimes on Monday but then it will rise to over 800 theaters on Tuesday. It had been scheduled in 549 locations, but due to the outstanding box office performance, one of big theater chains stepped back in this morning and offered up about 250 more screens.
The release schedule is proving potent. Will they sail past Howl’s Moving Castle and The Wind Rises? Only time will tell, but the odds look very good. Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F has already grossed $51.6M overseas. Howl’s Moving Castle and The Wind Rises made the bulk of their money from international markets. Castle made $230.4M internationally and Wind captured $112.7M internationally.