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Box Office: ‘Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret’ can’t knock down ‘Super Mario Bros.’

Are you there at the box office? It’s me Mario.”

Now in its fourth weekend of release, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” still dominates the competition on the national charts, fending off theatrical newcomers “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” “Sisu” and Big George Foreman.

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The adaptation of Judy Blume’s best-selling 1970 novel is the best of the new releases. Opening in 3,343 locations, the coming-of-age flick grossed $2.25 million on Friday, a figure that includes about $600,000 in Thursday previews. That may be enough for Lionsgate’s outing to project a third-place finish for the weekend, but it’s ultimately a disappointing result for an audience based on a literary stalwart who carries a $30 million production budget.

That’s not to say there isn’t support for “Margaret.” The film received rave reviews, earning a 98% approval rating from top critics on the global website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences are also very excited, as research firm Cinema Score earned an “A” grade after surveying the first round of ticket buyers.

Lionsgate will be looking to make the most of that word of mouth, as “Margaret” continues to play through the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend. Beyond the movies, the distributor can hope that the coming-of-age tale finds as enduring a lifespan as that of its source material.

Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, “Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret” stars Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates. As in the original book, the film follows sixth-grader Margaret Simon, who suddenly finds herself transplanted to suburban New Jersey as she struggles with puberty and her religious identity.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” still dominates its competitors. The animated adventure puts up another impressive take, projecting a slim 37% drop from its previous outing for a big weekend of $37.5 million. Already the highest-grossing release of 2023 so far, the film will almost certainly cross the $1 billion mark at the global box office this weekend. It will be the fifth title to achieve this feat since the global COVID pandemic began, following in the footsteps of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ and ‘Avatar’. : The way of water.

“Evil Dead Rise” appears to be taking the cash after grossing $3.6 million on Friday, down 65% from its opening last week. The crazy horror sequel is looking to boost its total domestic gross to $43 million this weekend. It’s a rewarding run for the film, which carries a production budget of $19 million and was originally slated to debut exclusively on HBO Max. But Warner Bros. has moved on to a theatrical rollout and now appears to be rewarded with substantial ticket sales.

“John Wick: Chapter 4” continues to show stamina, looking to stay at number four on the domestic charts. Keanu Reeves’ action epic pulled in $1.2 million on Friday, down just 21% from a week ago. Total domestic gross is expected to top $175 million through the weekend. At $373 worldwide, the “John Wick” entry is the third highest-grossing release of the year, behind “Super Mario Bros.” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”

Clearly, it’s a bit of a quiet weekend at the box office when a 1983 movie breaks into the top five. Disney is re-releasing “Return of the Jedi” this weekend to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the “Star Wars” trilogy capper. Playing in 475 theaters, the classic grossed $1.75 million on Friday.

Also dropping in the US this weekend, Indian epic “Ponniyin Selvan: Part Two” looks set to hit the top 10 on the domestic charts, projecting a haul of around $3-4 million. “Part One” opened to $4 million when it debuted last fall.

“Sisu,” an original Finnish action flick launched by Lionsgate, pulled in $1.4 million on Friday from 1,006 locations. The distributor devised a targeted marketing campaign and sought to create a trending title among genre audiences after acquiring the title at the Toronto International Film Festival.

George Foreman’s new biopic, fully titled “Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Former and Future World Heavyweight Champion,” will likely open outside the top 10. Distributed by Sony’s Affirm Films banner , the title is projecting a debut at $2.8 million.

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