While movie theatres around the world are struggling to survive, cinemagoers in Japan are helping to smash box office records. Despite COVID-19 social distancing rules, an animated film has just seen (by far) the biggest box office weekend in the history of Japan's cinemas. The movie 'Demon Slayer: Mugen Train' not only broke records in Japan, it also had the biggest opening weekend for any movie anywhere in the world. The movie only debuted domestically in Japan but it more than doubled the previous record. Ticket sales last weekend were greater than those of all other countries combined. Japanese cinemas saw over 3.4 million patrons forking out a whopping $44 million on tickets.
The movie Demon Slayer is based on a smash-hit Japanese manga - a Japanese-style comic book. The story is set in early 20th-century Japan. The main protagonist is a young man who joins a group of warriors to get revenge on a group of ghouls and demons that killed his family and cursed his sister. It is the latest in a long line of anime and manga to become a phenomenon in Japanese popular culture. The 22-volume manga has sold over 100 million copies, making it one of the most successful manga of all time. Japanologist Roland Kelts from Tokyo's Waseda University said: "This particular title cuts across generations. Even people over 40, over 50, really like Demon Slayer."