One Piece Film Red rocketed to the top of the box office chart in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, achieving the biggest-ever opening for a Japanese anime in the territory and dislodging Black Adam from the top slot.
Middle East and North Africa distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment, which holds all rights to the film in the region, said its opening weekend in Saudi Arabia, including previews, drew 61,000 admissions for a box office of $1.04m.
The weekend runs across Friday and Saturday in the territory so the figures are calculated from Wednesday previews through to end-Saturday.
Japanese anime has a strong following in Saudi Arabia and One Piece Film Red is the third feature in the genre to top the box office in the territory over the past 18 months.
This is an exceptional result, nonetheless. The opening admissions figure is 14% higher than that achieved by previous record holder Jujutsu Kaisen 0 at the beginning of 2022 and 50% more than Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train, which broke out in May 2021.
Front Row said the film had also achieved one of the biggest-ever opening days for a PG-12 movie in Saudia Arabia and the second biggest-ever opening day for an animated film behind Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru.
The distributor also noted, for context, that the opening day figures for One Piece Film Red were higher than Universal’s Jurassic World by 22% (also rated PG-12), 286% bigger than Sonic: The Hedgehog 2 and just 8% lower than Black Adam.
The film, produced by Toei Animation and One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda, is the 15th instalment in the hit franchise.
The feature is already the franchise’s highest-selling chapter to date thanks to its performance in Japan, where it was released in early September and is currently the highest-grossing film of 2022, ahead of Top Gun: Maverick.
The film also opened in North America via CrunchyRoll/Sony this weekend where it achieved a $9.47M opening.
Dubai-based distributor Front Row has been a pioneer in the distribution of anime in the MENA region, with past releases including the previous One Piece film, Stampede, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Dragon Ball: Resurrection ‘F’, Attack On Titan: Chronicle and Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering With You.
The company also represents the Studio Ghibli catalogue in the region and has also handled the release of several Anime series such as The Promised Neverland and Akudama Drive.
“We are delighted to see how well One Piece Film Red has performed this weekend,” said Eli Touma, Front Row’s head of distribution.
“Japanese Animes are incredibly popular in the Middle East and particularly in Saudi Arabia and One Piece is the biggest property of them all. We’re eager to continue feeding this audience as they’ve long been underserved in this region.”
The film also opened strongly across the Middle East with over $400k grossed to date in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt. It is currently playing across all major cinema chains in the region in IMAX.