“Wahoo!” as the titular character likes to exclaim. Living up to its title, The Super Mario Bros. Movie overperformed on all levels.
The film about the world’s most famous plumber, voiced by Chris Pratt, who is transported to an alternate world, grossed $204.6 million and $377.5 million domestically and globally, respectively. That set the worldwide record for the biggest debut ever for an animated film.
Those numbers also gave The Super Mario Bros., directed by Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic and Pierre Leduc, the record of having the biggest bow of 2023.
The movie also set the biggest launch for a film inspired by a video; it’s also IMAX’s strongest weekend opener. Illumination, the animation unit behind Super Mario Bros., also claims the film as its biggest revenue maker.
The movie’s voice cast includes Charlie Day (as Luigi, Mario’s brother), Anya Taylor-Joy (Princess Peach), Jack Black (Bowser), Seth Rogen (Donkey Kong) and Kevin Michael Richardson (Kamek).
Nintendo, the Japanese video game company that owns the rights to Super Mario Bros., became wary of another film adaptation when the 1993 big-screen adaptation failed critically and commercially. However, in 2017, Chris Meledandri, founder of Universal Pictures’ Illumination animation division, began negotiations with Nintendo.
The resulting movie and its success further buoy hope that the 2023 film attendance, already boosted by the success of several movies in March, will continue – or at least until summer.
John Wick: Chapter 4, which ended March with a bang and ushered in April with big hopes for a continued post-pandemic moviegoing surge, came in second with $14.6 million.
The top 2-3-4 spots are hotly contested. As this story is being written, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, is a close third. Another successful adaptation of a video game, Dungeons & Dragons scored $14.5 million.
Also close is Air, actor-director Ben Affleck’s sports drama based on the true story of how Sonny Vaccaro (played by Matt Damon) steered Nike in pursuing Michael Jordan to sign the historic deal that brought Air Jordan.
Praised by critics and doing well at exit polls by the moviegoers, Air, which costars Affleck (who also acts as Phil Knight, Nike founder), Jason Bateman, Viola Davis (as Jordan’s mother, Deloris), Chris Messina and Chris Tucker, picked up $14.46 million.
Those numbers exceeded the box office analysts’ projections. The experts are welcoming the figures as a good start for a drama for adults.
Scream VI occupied the fifth berth with $3.31 million which increased the sixquel’s cume to $103.8 million. As a result, the horror mystery thriller sequel is now the highest earner in the Ghostface franchise.
Comprising the rest of the top ten were, in order, the faith-based His Only Son, $3.25 million; Creed III, $2.8 million; Shazam! Fury of the Gods, $1.6 million; Paint, director Brit McAdams’ comedy-drama featuring Owen Wilson as Vermont’s top public television painter; and A Thousand and One, $600,000.
Internationally, Mario Bros. Movie was super as well. As mentioned earlier, the movie revolving around a plumber with the trademark thick mustache established a global record as the top animated debut ever.
But overseas, the movie fell short of beating Frozen II’s $228.2 million as the number one offshore opening. The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s international receipts added to $172.8 million. The biggest markets include Germany, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and China.
Box office prognosticators predict that the movie may end up with a $1 billion global tally.