Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is on its way to having the best global opening for an anime film in box office history. The film is the latest entry in the long-running Dragon Ball franchise, which quickly became one of the preeminent global anime brands following its creation by Akira Toriyama in 1984. The series, which generally follows lead character Son Goku on his quest to collect seven mythical Dragon Balls, has expanded into various spin-offs and follow-ups including Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super, which premiered in 2015.
Super, which takes place in the years after the fall of the villain Majin Buu, ran until 2018, at which point the story was continued on film in the theatrical project Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Super Hero, which is the second Dragon Ball Super film, is also the twenty-first movie in the franchise overall. The first to be primarily rendered using 3D animation, it follows Dragon Ball characters Piccolo and Gohan as they team up to square off against the Red Ribbon Army, returning for the first time in quite a while. The project, which comes from a screenplay written by Toriyama himself, was released in U.S. theaters on August 18, 2022 following its Japanese release on June 11, 2022.
Per THR, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has amassed a total of $10.7 million in the domestic box office on Friday, and is well on its way to a total opening of $20 million. This will nab it the #1 slot for the weekend, above the Idris Elba thriller Beast, which stars the actor as a father fighting to protect his daughters from a rampaging lion. Crunchyroll has announced that this U.S. gross, combined with its opening in other international markets, makes for the highest-earning opening weekend for any anime film in history.
The reason that the film hit #1 in domestic theaters is likely the fact that there has been a dearth of major blockbusters in American cinemas that will continue through the end of the month. However, it is performing incredibly well on the scale of anime releases, even in the Dragon Ball franchise. This means it is likely on its way to a record-breaking overall gross as well, considering that the previous entry, Broly, already made a whopping $115.7 million in its box office run despite opening lower.
The success for Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero almost definitely means the Super franchise will keep going. The future of Dragon Ball as a whole was hardly in question, considering it has been going strong for about 40 years. However, the Super branch just experienced an unusually long hiatus between films during the pandemic, so if Super Hero hadn’t succeeded, it may have faded away quietly. Thankfully for fans of the series, that is certainly not going to be the case now.