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Universal and Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a bona fide blockbuster, and the first movie of the year that will cross the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office.
The Nintendo video game adaptation grossed a massive $92.5 million from 4,371 theaters in its second weekend of play at the North American box office, notably more than expected and representing a drop of just 37 percent, according to final numbers released Monday. That’s up from Sunday’s already crazy-great estimate of $87 million, which marks the biggest second weekend ever for an animated film after surpassing Frozen 2 ($86 million).
Through Sunday, Super Mario has grossed $353.3 million domestically and $339.8 million overseas for a jaw-dropping global tally of $693.1 million through Sunday before crossing $700 million on Monday. Its foreign cume includes an impressive second-weekend gross of $102.5 million from 71 markets after dipping less than 28 percent (final foreign numbers were also up from Sunday’s estimate of $94 million). Mexico leads with a huge $52 million, already the third-best showing of all time for a Hollywood animated film.
The animated sensation smashed numerous records in its launch over the long Easter holiday. And by mid-last-week, Mario had zoomed past Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania to rank as the top-grossing movie of the year to date at the domestic, international and worldwide box office. It’s also now the No. 1 video game adaptation of all time after passing up Warcraft ($439.4 million) and Pokémon: Detective Pikachu ($449.8 million).
A plethora of new movies opened nationwide this weekend to mixed results, led by Universal’s modern-day vampire comedy Renfield and Screen Gems’ supernatural thriller The Pope’s Exorcist.
Heading into the weekend, many analysts thought Renfield would place No. 2 behind Super Mario.
But Pope’s Exorcist prevailed with an estimated debut of $9.2 million from 3,178 theaters. Directed by Julius Avery, the film stars Russell Crowe as real-life priest Father Gabriele Amorth, who acted as chief exorcist of the Vatican and who performed more than 100,000 exorcisms in his lifetime. Overseas, the pic grossed another $10.4 million from 51 markets — including a strong $1.1 million in Italy — for a running foreign total of $27.4 million and global total of $33.6 million.
Holdover John Wick: Chapter 4 placed No. 3 with an estimated $7.9 million for a domestic tally of $160.1 million. The movie has grossed another $18.6 million from 76 foreign markets for a stellar foreign tally of $189.6 million and a franchise-best $349.7 million globally.
Renfield narrowly beat Ben Affleck’s Air to come in No. 4 with a domestic debut of $8 million, according to Monday actuals.
Renfield opened to $2.3 million from 46 markets overseas for a foreign start of $10 million and $18 million globally. The pic, starring Nicholas Hoult in the titular role and Nicolas Cage as Count Dracula, follows Renfield as he seeks out another life for himself after serving for centuries as Dracula’s loyal aide. Directed by Chris McKay, the New Orleans-set film also stars Awkwafina.
From Amazon, Air sports a 10-day domestic cume of $34.3 million. It earned another $6.2 million from 66 territories overseas for a foreign cume of $20.8 million.
Japanese anime maestro Makoto Shinkai’s coming-of-age anime adventure Suzume — the only new movie this weekend to boast glowing reviews — opened to an estimated $5 million from 2,170 theaters for Crunchyroll/Sony. A hit in its home territory of Japan late last year, the film is now rolling out everywhere else after playing in competition at the 2023 Berlinale. Overseas, the movie took in $6.3 million from 34 markets for a weekend total of $11.3 million.
Suzume follows a young heroine who accidentally opens a portal that lets in destructive beings from another world who cause earthquakes. She must reverse the damage before Tokyo is destroyed, helped by a children’s chair that contains the enchanted spirit of a potential boyfriend.
The anime film came in No. 7, followed by Bleecker Street’s crime boss comedy Mafia Mamma, which found few laughs in its debut.
Directed by Twilight helmer Catherine Hardwicke and starring Toni Collette opposite Monica Bellucci, the movie opened to a disappointing $2 million from 2,002 locations. Mafia Mamma is intended for females 25 and older, a demo that has been slow to return to the multiplex. But a bigger problem could be bad reviews.
In the film, Collette plays an American marketing executive who travels to Italy for her grandfather’s funeral only to learn that she’s just become a crime boss.
New faith-based thriller Nefarious rounded out the top 10 chart in North America with an estimated opening of $1.3 million from 933 locations.
The independent sports biographical film Sweetwater, distributed by Briarcliff Entertainment, was DOA in its nationwide debut. The movie opened to less than $350,000 from 1,204 theaters, one of the worst showings of all time for a pic going out in more than 1,000 cinemas.
Directed by Martin Guigui, the movie chronicles the early career of basketball and baseball player Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, who was a star player for the Harlem Globetrotters before becoming only the second African American to play in the National Basketball Association when he was recruited by the New York Knicks in 1950. Cary Elwes, Jeremy Piven, Richard Dreyfuss, Kevin Pollak, Robert Ri’chard, Gary Clark Jr., Kevin Daley, Bobby Portis and Eric Roberts also star in Sweetwater.
At the specialty box office, filmmaker Ari Aster’s mind-bending Beau Is Afraid was a big draw in its launch in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, including select Imax showings. The specialty pic scored a location average of $80,099 — the second-best since 2019 and the second-best for A24 after Uncut Gems. (Put another way, Beau Is Afraid’s total opening gross was $320,400, on par with Sweetwater, even though it is playing in just four cinemas.)
Joaquin Phoenix stars opposite Patti LuPone, Amy Ryan, Nathan Lane and Parker Posey in the A24 film.
Picturehouse and National Geographic Documentary Films’ Wild Life, also did nicely in its specialty debut, boasting a per-screen average of $23,555 from two theaters in New York and Washington, D.C. From Oscar-winning filmmakers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo), Wild Life chronicles the work of conservationists Kris and Doug Tompkins.
April 16, 7:30 a.m. Updated with revised grosses.
April 16, 10:30 a.m. Updated with additional overseas numbers.
April 17, 8:15 a.m. Updated with Monday actuals.
This story was originally published at 7:39 am on April 15.
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