‘Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Debuts With Historic Numbers At Home And Abroad; Biggest Illumination Opening Ever
There hasn’t been a box office animation smash like this since … well since Illumination released its last film in 2022. Chris Meledandri’s animation studio reaffirmed its pole position as the most audience-pleasing animation studio with The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which dominated the global box office in its first weekend, grossing an estimated $377.5 million in ticket sales. It’s the largest global film opening of 2023 to date, in addition to setting loads of other records.
• How it performed in North America
Breaking Mario’s debut down, the Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic-directed film managed an estimated $146.4 million over its first three days and $204.6 million over its first five days (Wednesday-Sunday). It accounted for 74% of all tickets sold in the U.S. and Canada.
The film delivered a stunning $33,700 per-theater average from 4,343 locations. Domestically The Super Mario Bros. film took incredible advantage of premium format screens. Of its total box office haul, 38% of Mario’s opening weekend box office came from Imax, PLF, motion seats, and 3d screens, the latter of which was responsible for 15% of the film’s gross all on its own.
Mario’s North American opening is historic for several reasons:
- Third-highest three-day opening for an animated feature, following The Lion King remake ($191.8m) and Incredibles 2 ($182.7m).
- Largest-ever opening for an Illumination title, surpassing Minions’ 3-day of $115.7 million and Despicable Me 2′s 5-day of $143 million.
- Best opening for a video game adaptation, topping Sonic 2′s $72.1 million over three days (Friday-Sunday).
- Best debut of any animated feature post-pandemic.
- Third-highest Easter opening ever after Batman vs. Superman’s $181 million and Furious 7′s $161 million.
• How it performed internationally
Mario opened in 70 international markets over the weekend, pulling in $172.8 million. Added to its domestic haul, the film’s five-day weekend now sits at $377.5 million.
According to numbers published by Variety, the film did massive numbers in several key territories:
- Mexico: $27.4 million
- U.K. and Ireland: $19.6 million
- Germany: $14 million
- China: $12 million
- France: $10.4 million
- Spain: $8.6 million
- Australia: $8.3 million
Globally, Super Mario Bros. pulled in the second-highest opening of any animated movie ever on Imax at $21.6 million. Only Disney’s The Lion King managed more, with $25.2 million back in 2019.
• Audience reception
Critics may have been mixed with their reactions to the film, but audiences have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. According to Posttrak data shared by Deadline, audiences reviewed the film at 94% positive with 82% saying they would recommend it to others.
At more than 5,000 verified Rotten Tomatoes ratings, the film sits at a 96% audience score. On Metacritic, it’s a bit lower at 8.6 after around 750 replies. With that kind of reaction, Mario’s long-term potential looks incredible, and it feels like there are plenty more records that will be broken over the new few weeks.
• What’s being said
Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, president of distribution for Universal Pictures International, told Variety:
It’s a phenomenal number all around. The film is based on incredible IP, which is beloved by people of different generations– young and old. This is great news for the industry.
Universal domestic distribution chief Jim Orr told Deadline:
The incredible partnership of Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto’s iconic characters, with Illumination and Chris Meledandri’s unbeatable filmmaking and storytelling prowess, has led to this combustible moment at the worldwide box office. Audiences of all ages and backgrounds have flocked to theatres to revel in this extraordinary big-screen celebration.
In a release, Imax CEO Rich Gelfond added:
lllumination and Universal did an excellent job launching this new franchise, building on the great momentum we’re seeing at the global box office as a very promising summer blockbuster season approaches.
Domestic figures came from Box Office Mojo and International figures from Comscore. All figures are based on estimates and subject to change.