The third installment in NTV-Toho’s 20th Century Boys trilogy has become the most successful entry in the series, with an unbroken reign of six weeks at the top of the Japanese box office.

The film surpassed earnings of $44.9m (Y4bn) on the Oct 3-4 weekend, outdoing the first and second entries’ $44.4m (Y3.95bn) and $33.8m (Y3.01bn) respectively. The film looks to go beyond distributor Toho’s stated goal of $56m.

Released on August 29 on 374 screens, 20th Century Boys: The Last Chapter held off other major releases over the past six weeks including The Taking Of Pelham 123, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Shochiku’s big-budget ninja saga Kamui.

Budgeted at a total of $60m, all three films were directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi and star a large cast led by Toshiaki Karasawa, Etsushi Toyokawa and Takako Tokiwa. The first film was released on August 30 2008 and the second on January 31 this year.

Naoki Urasawa’s original manga enjoys an international cult following, translating into great interest for the films, with the conclusion offering a different ending. Producer Nippon Television Network has sold to various territories in Asia and Europe.

US distributor Viz Pictures hosted the world premiere of third entry on August 28 at San Francisco’s New People Japanese-themed shopping and cinema complex. The first film had its world premiere at The Louvre in Paris.