It’s still Mario Time at the box office.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie led ticket sales for the fourth straight weekend in theatres with US$40 million, as the global haul for the Universal Pictures release surpassed US$1 billion, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The Nintendo video game adaptation dominated the month of April in theatres, smashing records along the way. Over the weekend, it faced little new competition, though that will change next week when Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 kicks off the summer movie calendar and is expected to move Mario to the side. Studios spent the last week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas promoting coming blockbusters and promising big returns at the summer box office.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie was estimated to easily cross US$1 billion at the worldwide box office Sunday, making it the 10th animated film to reach that milestone and the first since 2019. With a domestic total thus far of US$490 million, international sales are even stronger. The Illumination-animated release took in US$68.3 million overseas over the weekend, pushing its international haul to US$532.5 million.
Second place went to Evil Dead Rise. The horror sequel from Warner Bros. held well in its second week, especially for a horror film, dipping 50 per cent with US$12.2 million.
Among the weekend’s newcomers, the Judy Blume adaptation Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret fared the best. The Lionsgate release grossed US$6.8 million in 3,343 locations, a decent start for the US$30 million-budgeted coming-of-age tale written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, who also directed The Edge of Seventeen.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, a story about an 11-year-old played by Abby Ryder Fortson going through puberty, was particularly popular with women. With stellar reviews – 99 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes – and strong audience scores – an “A” CinemaScore – Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret should play well through Mother’s Day.
Lionsgate also released the Finnish action movie Sisu in 1,006 locations. The film, about a prospector played by Jorma Tommila whose gold is stolen by Nazis, grossed an estimated US$3.3 million. That was a solid result for the rare international film to receive a nationwide opening. Reviews have been good – 93 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes – for writer-director Jalmari Helander’s film.
Sisu managed to surpass the weekend’s most heavyweight new release: Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World. The film, from Sony’s Christian production company Affirm Films, gives a faith-based twist to the sports biopic. But after getting dinged by bad reviews, it didn’t punch very hard, with US$3 million in 3,054 theatres.
Nida Manzoor’s Polite Society, about a British-Pakistani high-schooler played by Priya Kansara with dreams of becoming a stuntwoman, debuted with US$800,000 in 927 theatres. The Focus Features film, one of the standouts of January’s Sundance Film Festival, blends kung-fu with Jane Austen in a story about London sisters.
One of the weekend’s biggest successes was a familiar box-office force. The Walt Disney Co.’s re-release of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi grossed US$4.7 million in just 475 theatres. Disney put Jedi, the 1997 special edition version, back into theatres to commemorate the 1983 film’s 40th anniversary.