It was certain that One Piece: Stampede would be the biggest One Piece movie yet, at least in terms of cast, even before it’s release – but I doubt anyone would have expected it to become one of the franchise’s biggest in terms of box office, in turn.
It was announced on Monday, September 9 via the official One Piece website that One Piece: Stampede’s box office had exceeded 5 billion yen (around $46 million USD) barely a month after its release in Japanese theaters on August 9.
Toei Animation unveiled a new promotional video with lots of new footage via their YouTube channel in celebration of this tremendous achievement, and series creator Eiichiro Oda even chimed in with an official comment.
In his comment, Oda thanks those who have seen the movie in theaters and supported it, while urging those who have yet to see it to go and check out the ‘cheering’ screenings (where you can shout and scream at the screen, bring penlights etc.) as well as the 4DX screenings that are continuing throughout September.
Oda also thanked Stampede director Takashi Otsuka, echoing the sentiments of gratitude evoked in another comment before the film’s release earlier last month. But neither Oda nor Otsuka would surely have been able to predict what a massive success One Piece: Stampede has turned out to be, both in terms of box office and simply as a celebration of the anime’s 20th anniversary.
One Piece: Stampede first broke the record for the largest opening weekend at the Japanese box office in 2019 with 350,000 tickets sold, before going on to sustain that performance with continued revenue – eventually taking it up to 5 billion yen.
That 5 billion yen figure is significant, as its just shy of the box office of the franchise’s last theatrical outing in One Piece Film: Gold with plenty of time to go. It seems, therefore, all but certain that Stampede will beat that target – but the question is whether or not it will be able to beat out One Piece Film: Z.
Film: Z currently holds the One Piece franchise’s box office record, sitting just shy of 7 billion yen – quite a ways away from Stampede’s current box office gross.
There are also several factors working against One Piece: Stampede’s box office favor. The movie had a later summer release than Z, meaning that the younger demographic had less time to go and see it.
One Piece was also arguably at the peak of its popularity in the early 2010s, as the Straw Hats entered the New World after a two-year timeskip. In contrast, the series’ current ‘Wano Kuni’ arc has been met with dissatisfaction from some fans, accompanied by some evidence of stagnating sales.
Stampede has also only performed marginally better than Gold in terms of box office, only earning 8.4% more over its first four days. So while it may sit comfortably above 2016’s offering, it’s unlikely that it’ll be able to beat out the franchise’s 2012 blowout.
It’s also therefore very unlikely that Stampede will beat out Detective Conan: Fist of Blue Sapphire to become the biggest Japanese animated franchise movie this year. Still, I’m sure all parties involved will be very happy with the movie’s box office performance – although they will surely be thinking hard about how they can beat that elusive record next time.