TOKYO — In the United States, movies are being shown to seas of empty seats, if theaters are opening at all. But in Japan, an animated film just had the biggest box office weekend in the country’s history — by far.

The movie, “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train,” based on a smash-hit Japanese comic book, had been hotly anticipated for months by both fans and an industry desperate to get moviegoers back in front of big screens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The film outperformed all expectations, more than doubling the country’s record for the largest opening weekend, with over 3.4 million people shelling out nearly $44 million on tickets. In what may be a first for Japan, the movie had the biggest opening in the world last weekend — more than all other countries combined — despite having debuted only domestically.

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