Universal/Illumination’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has officially done what no other animated film since the start of the pandemic has been able to do: hit the $1 billion mark at the global box office.
Nintendo’s adaptation hit the bull’s eye early in its fourth weekend in theaters, as it adds an estimated $37.5 million from North American theaters and an estimated $69 million from overseas. It’s the 11th film in animation history and the first in the 2020s to hit $1 billion, surpassing “Minions: The Rise of Gru” to become the highest-grossing film of the post-closure era. .
In the coming week, “Super Mario Bros.” will join “The Incredibles 2” and the “Lion King” remake as the third animated film to gross over $500 million domestically. With an estimated $150 million more, it will pass the world’s first “Minions” movie race to become not only Illumination’s highest-grossing film, but also the highest-grossing non-Disney/Pixar animated title ever. box office history.
Rather than playing like most Illumination movies with a heavily family-oriented attendance, “Mario” continued to attract moviegoers from across the demographic spectrum as a four-quadrant blockbuster weekend after weekend. The film’s strong weekend may fade next weekend with the release of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”, but the film may still gain strong support and repeat viewings from families with young children being set the darker, more violent tone of the Marvel movie.
Elsewhere in the charts, several new releases are struggling to find a large audience. Leading the newcomers is “Are You There God?” from Lionsgate. It’s me, Margaret,” which, according to industry estimates, earned an opening weekend of $5–6 million from 3,343 theaters. That’s below expectations for a $7-9 million launch against a reported production budget of $30 million.
This low total is despite excellent reception with a 99% Rotten Tomatoes score, an A on CinemaScore, and an overall positive rating of 88% on PostTrak. Based on Judy Blume’s acclaimed 1970 novel, “Margaret” aims to appeal to women over 55 who are typically slower to hit theaters. It’s possible this movie will stand out among this demographic as Mother’s Day approaches, though it will soon have to compete with Focus Features’ “Book Club: The Next Chapter.”
On a per-theater basis, Lionsgate gets more for its money from “Sisu,” a Finnish thriller about a Sami prospector who slaughters hordes of Nazis to protect his newfound treasure. Releasing on just over 1,000 screens this weekend, “Sisu” is expected to gross around $3 million with strong Rotten Tomatoes scores of 93% reviews and 90% viewership.
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