By LINDSEY BAHR
AP Film Writer
Idris Elba may go head-to-head with a lion in “Beast,” but the action flick was no match for the latest “Dragon Ball” movie at the North American box office last weekend.
“Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” topped the charts in its first weekend in theaters, with $20.1 million in ticket sales according to studio estimates on Sunday. “Beast,” meanwhile, settled for a second-place debut with $11.6 million.
Crunchyroll released “Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero” on 3,900 screens in North America, marking the widest-ever opening for an anime. The Toei Animation production was directed by Tetsuro Kodama, who had the support of “Dragon Ball” creator Akira Toriyama.
The Dragon Ball universe is almost 40 years old, and includes manga, television shows, movies, games and toys.
“We’re absolutely thrilled that Dragon Ball fans could come together to experience and enjoy this amazing film in theaters,” said Mitchel Berger, senior vice president of global commerce for the distributor, in a statement. “Crunchyroll thanks all of the fans, whether or not you are a ‘super’ fan or a newcomer, and we hope they come back again and again.”
According to PostTrak, the “Dragon Ball Super” audience was heavily male (79%) and 44% between the ages of 25 and 34.
“Japanese anime is a cinematic tradition, but rarely do you see a movie like this topping the domestic chart,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “To be ahead of all these other mainstream Hollywood movies is quite incredible. It speaks volumes to the globalization of the box office.“
“Beast,” meanwhile, opened on 3,743 screens in North America. The film, directed by Baltasar Kormakur (“Everest”) stars Elba as a widowed father of two teenage girls, played by Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries, who find themselves on the run from a bloodthirsty lion during a trip to South Africa.
Sony’s “Bullet Train,” meanwhile, landed in third place after two weekends at No. 1 with an estimated $8 million, bringing its domestic total to $68.9 million.