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‘Super Mario Bros.’ Is Decade’s First $1 Billion Animated Hit, Dwarfs Box Office Newcomers

Illumination Entertainment / Nintendo

Universal/Illumination’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has lapped the box office competition, becoming the first animated film of the 2020s to gross $1 billion worldwide while competitors search for vastly smaller opening weekends among niche audiences.

Another strong hold of just a 33% drop has given the film a fourth weekend total of $40 million domestic and $108 million worldwide, pushing the film’s overall totals to $490 million domestic and $1.02 billion global. In the coming week, “Mario” will join “The Incredibles 2” and the 2019 “Lion King” remake as just the third animated film to gross over $500 million domestic. With approximately $130 million more, it will pass the $1.15 billion of “Minions” to become Illumination’s highest grossing film ever.

In second is Warner Bros./New Line’s “Evil Dead Rise,” which is holding respectably with a $12.2 million second weekend to give the horror film a 10-day total of $44.4 million. With a $15 million budget, the movie is proving to be a win for both theaters and Warner, which pivoted the horror title’s release from an HBO Max exclusive launch to a full theatrical window.

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In third is the top grossing newcomer of the weekend, Lionsgate’s adaptation of Judy Blume’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” The coming-of-age film is earning an industry estimated opening of $6.8 million from 3,334 theaters, slightly below the $7-9 million pre-release projections.

With a reported $30 million budget, “Margaret” needs to ride its critical and audience acclaim to a long run in theaters with older female moviegoers. The film has sterling critical scores of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, an A on CinemaScore and 88% overall positive on PostTrak.

Given that older moviegoers tend to show up in theaters later during a film’s run, it’s possible that “Margaret” could have a long run through Mothers Day weekend, though it will have competition from Focus Features’ “Book Club: The Next Chapter” for its core demo.

Fellow Lionsgate release “John Wick: Chapter 4” is in fourth with $5 million in its sixth weekend. With $176.1 million grossed domestically, the film is now the highest grossing title in the “John Wick” series.

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Completing the Top 5 is Disney/Lucasfilm’s 40th anniversary re-release of “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” which hit 500 theaters and earned an estimated $4.7 million.

Outside the Top 5, the Indian import “Ponniyin Selvan: Part 2” has earned $3.7 million from 600 theaters, nearly matching the $4 million opening that the first “PS” earned last fall in the United States. Lionsgate also released the Nazi-slaying action film “Sisu” in approximately 1,006 theaters, earning a $3.25 million opening with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 93% critics and 90% audience.

But the biggest misfire of the weekend is Sony/Affirm’s “Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Champion of the World,” a $32 million boxing biopic that was released in 3,054 theaters and has opened to just $3 million. Fans of the boxer embraced the film with an A- on CinemaScore, but critics were less enthused with a 44% RT score.

Next weekend marks the start of the summer box office season, which runs from the first weekend of May through Labor Day. As usual, a Marvel Studios title will kick things off with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.,” which is projected to earn an opening of $130 million, above the $106 million start of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” but below the $146.5 million opening of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” in 2017. The film currently has a 79% Rotten Tomatoes score with 104 reviews logged.

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