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I am devloping a new Wordpress theme that requires the installation of an outside plugin, called Revolution Slider. I would like to create a set of demo slider images for the user upon theme activation, although I'm a little confused as to how I will provide this as demo content because the slides are created from the plugin, and I don't believe I can upload the slides as a .xml file as in a normal import.

Is there a way to require the user to install the plugin, then populate the plugin's DB tables with my demo content? If so, could I do this directly from functions.php, or do I need to create a modified version of the plugin to accomplish this?

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That all depends on how the plugin stores its data. Is it a CPT? You mention plugin DB tables, how are they set-up in the DB? I suppose the plugin doesn't offer an export feature, does it? –  brasofilo Apr 14 '13 at 2:46
You might want to go a different direction with providing content for the slider, as plugin dependency is explicitly disallowed for WP themes: (lists.wordpress.org/pipermail/theme-reviewers/2013-March/…). –  Andrew Bartel Apr 14 '13 at 3:31
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