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TOKYO – “Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno,” the first of a two-part sequel to a 2012 hit about a pacifist swordsman in early-modern-era Japan,  enjoyed the biggest opening weekend of any live-action Japanese film this year.  

Produced by Warner Entertainment Japan, the film earned $8.1 million in its first three days, including Friday, on 438 screens and 640,000 admissions. It also topped the Aug. 2-3 weekend, while out-pacing the first “Rurouni” movie by 48%.

“Kyoto Inferno” benefited from its bow on Movie Service Day, on the first of every month, which draws fans with discounted tickets. The one day total was $2.25 million on 211,740 admissions.

The second part of the sequel, “Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends,” will open on Sept. 13.  

Meanwhile, the new release toppled “Godzilla” from the top place. The Toho-distributed “Godzilla” slipped by a modest 32% in its second week of release on 427 screens, while driving its cumulative score to $15.3 million.

The films in the next three positions — “Maleficent,” “Pokemon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction” and “When Marnie Was There” also fell one notch. Despite both being in their third week on release, both titles held strongly at the BO: “Pokemon”‘s earnings were down just 16% and “Marnie”‘s down 17% compared with the previous weekend. “Marnie” beat “Pokemon” to the $15 million B.O. milestone, while the latter film racked up more total admissions at 1.38 million.