‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ is a box office smash
Apr 9, 2023, 8:19 AM
(Nintendo and Universal Studios via AP)
Audiences said let’s go to the movie theater for “ The Super Mario Bros. Movie ” this weekend. The animated offering from Universal and Illumination powered up with $204.6 million in its first five days in 4,343 North American theaters, including $146.4 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
With an estimated $173 million in international earnings and a global total of $377 million, “Mario” broke records for video game adaptations (passing “Warcraft’s” $210 million) and animated films (“Frozen 2’s” $358 million).
Its global total makes it the biggest opening of 2023 and the second biggest three-day domestic animated opening (behind “Finding Dory”). It’s also a record for Illumination, the animation shop behind successful franchises like “Minions,” which has made over $5 billion from its 13 films.
The PG-rated “Mario” is an origin story of Brooklyn plumbers Mario, voiced by Chris Pratt, and Luigi (Charlie Day), who fall into a pipe and come out in another world full of Nintendo’s most famous characters, from Bowser (Jack Black) to Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy). Critics were largely mixed. “Mario” currently has a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes. But audiences were more favorable, giving it an A CinemaScore.
“Mario” wasn’t the only movie based on a brand that opened in theaters this week. Ben Affleck’s “Air,” about the origins of Nike’s Air Jordan and how the corporation signed Michael Jordan, also debuted in 3,507 theaters Wednesday. The film, which marks Amazon Studios first global theatrical release, has grossed an estimated $20.2 million since opening Wednesday in North America, with $14.5 million coming from the weekend.
With an R-rating, “Air,” starring Matt Damon, Viola Davis and Affleck, was a bit of adult-targeted counter programming to the “Mario” juggernaut. Reviews were glowing (95% on Rotten Tomatoes) for the film which debuted as a surprise screening at the South by Southwest Film Festival last month, helping to bolster buzz. Audiences were 55% male and 39% over the age of 45.
“Air” is the first film from Affleck and Damon’s new company Artists Equity which was formed last year in partnership with RedBird Capital.
In limited release, Kelly Reichardt’s art-centric “ Showing Up,” with Michelle Williams and Hong Chau, also bowed on four screens, grossing $66,932.
Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr.