Gory action flick Mortal Kombat, which was filmed in South Australia, has topped the US weekend box office.
But only just, as America’s movie theatres featured something not seen for a while: A genuine box-office battle.
Warner Bros’ Mortal Kombat reboot narrowly edged Japanese anime film Demon Slayer: Mugen Train for the top spot at the North American box office.
The R-rated Mortal Kombat earned $US22.5 million ($29 million), according to studio estimates, while Funimation’s Demon Slayer grossed $US19.5 million ($25 million).
The two releases fuelled the best weekend for US cinemas during the pandemic, with an estimated $US54.2 million ($70 million) in ticket sales overall, according to data company Comscore.
Based on the popular video games that first spawned a 1995 film, Mortal Kombat has also picked up $US27.6 million ($35.6 million) internationally.
Made by New Line for approximately $A71 million, the film was panned by some critics but more warmly praised by audiences for its bloody fight sequences.
It was filmed in South Australia in 2019 in a 14-week shoot across the state, including in Port Adelaide, the outback towns of Coober Pedy and Leigh Creek, and Mount Crawford in the Adelaide Hills.
The performance of Demon Slayer was more surprising. The Japanese movie, which played dubbed and with subtitles, is a continuation of the Demon Slayer TV series, which itself comes from a popular manga series.
It has already been a massive hit internationally.
In Japan, it’s the highest-grossing movie ever with more than $US350 million ($452 million) in estimated ticket sales.
The two releases, while perhaps not awards material, gave Hollywood some good news ahead of Monday’s (AEST) Academy Awards.