The Super Mario Bros Movie Is 2023’s First Billion Dollar Hit, While Evil Dead Rise Holds On Strong At The Weekend Box Office


As the early box office numbers come in, it appears that this weekend is representative of a strange take on “the more things change, the more things stay the same.” Nearly half of the Top 10 is made up of titles that weren’t playing in theaters last week… and yet the pair occupying the #1 and #2 positions are exactly where they were seven days ago. Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie is once again king of the mountain (surpassing a major milestone in reclaiming its crown), and Lee Cronin’s Evil Dead Rise had a strong second weekend (bolstering the trend of theatrical horror being a big draw).
The Super Mario Bros. Movie Is The First 2023 Movie To Make Over $1 Billion Worldwide
As I noted in my box office column last week, the movie industry has not produced an overwhelming number of billion dollar hits in the years since 2020. There were 18 titles that hit that milestone between 2017 and 2019, and only four since 2021: Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: No Way Home, Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick, Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World: Dominion, and James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way Of Water. It now means a lot more when a film hits a 10-digit gross, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie is now a part of that club.
The Nintendo adaptation stood at $876.4 million worldwide when the early numbers came in last Sunday, and now its global total sits at $1.022 billion. That’s enough to make it the forty-seventh highest grossing blockbuster of all-time, sneaking into the Top 50 past other billion dollar hits including Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and the aforementioned Jurassic World: Dominion.

Exactly how much higher it will climb in the record books is presently uncertain. The Super Mario Bros. Movie has had a remarkable run through April, made particularly impressive because of low weekend-to-weekend drops – but that success has come during a month when there has been very little all-ages friendly entertainment playing on the big screen. Since April 5, it’s been the only game in town for families… but that period ends this coming Friday.

After years of delays, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is arriving in theaters, and it should be noted that every single film released by Marvel Studios has debuted at #1. The trilogy capper and new Marvel Cinematic Universe chapter is guaranteed to be a hit, and it’s going to steal a lot of attention away from the big video game movie that has been dominating in recent weeks.

Will Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 ultimately be able to top The Super Mario Bros. Movie on the domestic charts? That’s a much taller order than taking over the Top 10 in its opening weekend. To date, the Nintendo feature has made just over $490 million in the United States and Canada, and Spider-Man: No Way Home is the only MCU title to bring in more than that since 2020 (per The Numbers, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever made $453.8 million by the end of its theatrical run, and Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness made $411.3).

Universal Pictures, Nintendo, and Illumination Entertainment have notably not yet announced the development of a Super Mario Bros. Movie sequel, but it is surely only a matter of time.

Evil Dead Rise Is On The Verge Of Becoming The Highest Grossing Title In The Evil Dead Franchise
Weekend-to-weekend drops mean a lot in the post-2020 box office world. While big titles are always going to have an extra draw when they first hit theaters, how they perform in their second weekend now says a lot: a big drop suggests that there is a large cross section of the audience demonstrating patience for the soon-to-come streaming/home video release, and a limited drop suggests good word of mouth and an extra appreciation for the theatrical experience.

While we’ve seen a number of blockbusters sink between 60 and 70 percent in the last few years, Evil Dead Rise can be categorized in the latter club. Bringing in $12.2 million in the last three days, the blood-soaked horror release only dipped only 50 percent from its $24.5 million debut. According to Variety, the film was made with a $19 million budget, and even when accounting for extra marketing and publicity costs it now looks like a profitable success. In addition to the $44.4 million it has made domestically, it has made $42.1 million overseas – bringing its global haul to $86.5 million.

It is now less than $10 million away from outgrossing Fede Álvarez’s Evil Dead from 2013 in the United States and Canada, and about $13 million away from doing it worldwide. It very well may become the first title in the brilliant franchise to make over $100 million.

As alluded to earlier, it’s hard not to view this as further evidence that audiences are currently very excited by the prospect of big screen scares right now. It now seems that spooky season is truly year round, as Evil Dead Rise is coming on the heels of other major 2023 wins – namely Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s Scream VI and Gerard Johnstone’s M3GAN. It makes one very excited for all of the upcoming horror movies in the works.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Takes Third Place, But Other New Releases Aren’t Quite As Successful
With April being a mostly scattershot month for big screen releases, it’s fitting that the last weekend of the month saw scattershot results from everything new hitting theaters. Of the titles that arrived in cinemas this past Friday, Kelly Fremon Craig’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was the one to climb the highest in the weekend rankings – nabbing third place with an estimated $6.8 million in ticket sales. It’s not exactly a tremendous result considering that the project had a budget in the $30 million range (per Deadline), but not disastrous either.

The debut of George Tillman Jr.’s Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World didn’t end up going so well, with a $3 million gross coming from playing in over 3,000 theaters– but Jorma Tommila’s Sisu has the opposite story going for it in the per location going for it. The critically acclaimed action film only made an estimated $3.3 million in the last three days, but it did so while playing on only 1,000 screens (a $3,231 average).

Next week’s box office column will be doing a deep dive into the opening weekend performance of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, so be sure to return here to CinemaBlend for the full report, and check out our 2023 Movie Release Calendar to discover all of the films hitting the big screen and streaming in the coming weeks and months.

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