Dragon Ball Z Resurrection F' has earned more than $3.5 million since it released domestically on August 4th. It earned double what Shaun the Sheep made on Thursday night despite playing on 900 screens vs Shaun the Sheep's 1,300 screens. Not enough? It was number one on per screen averages on Thursday with over $2,198. Now, these numbers are impressive, but no one is even joking about it being number one despite getting better reviews than the new Fantastic Four film. The movie cost around $5 million to make and could generate close to $19 million over the weekend. This is great news since the film released back in April in Japan and has already earned $50 million. What does this mean? More Dragon Ball ! It's already happening too with the recent debut of Dragon Ball Super in Japan.
If you're already familiar with the Dragon Ball franchise then you know that the fanbase spans generations and is loved by millions. The Japanese manga turned anime captured American audiences and has remained popular for more than a decade despite the series ending its television run in 1997 in Japan. This momentum resulted in the universally hated live action Hollywood made Dragon Ball Evolution. This left left a wafting stench of failure that lingered and even the series creator denounced the film. This led to the creation of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods which earned praise from many fans and earned more than $50 million worldwide.
"We reached out to those who influence (Internet culture) to promote to their audiences..."
The success of Dragon Ball Z Resurrection F came as a surprise given the somewhat unusual marketing campaign. FUNimation Entertainment , the distributor, chose to ignore traditional forms of advertising and tried something crazy. They reached out to fans. Nuts, right? More specifically they reached out to demographics receptive to the series. Gen Fukunaga ,founder and president of FUNimation said, "We did careful media placement and didn’t do much TV. We bought a small flight of commercials which appeared on the Toonami block of Adult Swim". Toonami being a block of cartoons that featured many anime titles on Cartoon Network and was the main method that American audiences watched the series. He went on to say "We reached out to those who influence (Internet culture) to promote to their audiences. We were able tap existing fans through their channels and, in some cases, reached millions of their followers. We had a retail partner, Hot Topic, which did in-store promotions". So they basically asked people who had a following on social media sites to promote the heck out of the movie. That and you could not go to a convention without seeing ads and campaigns for the movie.
It all seems to have worked for the film with it now being the 8th highest anime opening of all time. If that was still not enough, it also managed to become the first limited event-style theatrical release to debut in the box office Top 10. If fans want more Dragon Ball then they need to keep showing an interest.