‘Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Eyes $195M-Plus Box Office Bow – The Hollywood Reporter

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‘Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Eyes $195M-Plus Box Office Bow – The Hollywood Reporter

Illumination and Universal’s Nintendo video game adaptation The Super Mario Bros. Movie grossed an estimated $59 million at the Friday box office and now appears headed to clear $195 million or more in its five-day debut, well ahead of expectations and the top start of the year to date.

On Wednesday, Super Mario started off in North America with a huge $31.7 million and followed that up with $26 million on Thursday.

Super Mario has every chance of becoming the first blockbuster of 2023. Not only is the PG-rated pic whipping up interest among families, it is appealing to the generations of adults who grew up playing (or still play) Nintendo’s wildly popular Mario games. And while critics are mixed on the movie, audiences gave it an A CinemaScore.

The movie opened Wednesday in order to take advantage of spring holidays. It is also unfurling in 70 markets overseas.

The animated comedic adventure story follows Brooklyn plumbers and brothers Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) as they are transported to the magical Mushroom Kingdom world and separated. The movie’s voice cast also includes Keegan-Michael Key, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen, Kevin Michael Richardson and Sebastian Maniscalco. Charles Martinet, who has voiced the characters of Mario and Luigi in the Super Mario games for more than three decades, also makes a special voice appearance.

The film is directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic from a screenplay by Matthew Fogel. It is co-financed by Universal, parent company of Chris Meledandri’s Illumination, and Nintendo.

Easter’s other new high-profile offering is Ben Affleck’s Air, which is having a harder time scoring shots. The biographical drama about the early game-changing days of Nike when it was trying to sign a young Michael Jordan grossed $2.5 million Thursday for a two-day total of $5.8 million.

Like Super Mario, Air opened Wednesday and is anticipating a five-day debut of $18.7 million, which would put it on the low end of expectations and at No. 3 behind Mario and John Wick: Chapter 4.

Air is historic in that it is the first movie from Amazon Studios to receive an exclusive theatrical release in thousands of theaters around the world before streaming on Prime Video at a yet-to-be announced date. The film boasts glowing reviews and a coveted Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score of 94 percent. And it received an A CinemaScore from audiences.

The movie — starring Matt Damon and Viola Davis — chronicles Nike’s early game-changing days and is backed by Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports and Mandalay Pictures. It’s also the inaugural project from Affleck and Matt Damon’s Artists Equity, which the duo co-founded last year with RedBird Capital, and is the first time Affleck has directed Damon in one of his movies.

Air is also opening in numerous markets overseas, where Warner Bros. International is handling distribution duties.

More to come.

April 7, 12:30 pm PST Updated with new estimate for Air over five days.

April 7, 12:45 pm PST Updated with new estimate for Mario Bros on Friday and over five days.

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