Over the course of five days, the Super Mario Bros. Movie exceeded all expectations at the box office, earning a staggering $377 million worldwide and $204.6 million domestically. The film beat Frozen II’s $358 million global opening with its worldwide gross, which set a new record for the biggest opening weekend of an animated movie in history.
Even the film’s $146 million domestic debut over three days was impressive, making it the biggest debut of 2023 thus far. In comparison, Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania debuted in February with $106 million, and Avatar: The Way of Water debuted in December with $134 million. Mario also beat Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’s $200 million five-day domestic opening and easily beat Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s $72 million three-day domestic opening in 2022. It also had the biggest domestic opening for a video game-based movie.
Given that The Super Mario Bros. Movie received mixed reviews from critics and a “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it was a particularly strong performance. However, cinemagoers polled by CinemaScore gave the film an A rating, indicating that they were more satisfied. This indicates that Mario will likely have strong legs in the coming weeks, putting it in a strong position to become the highest-grossing movie of 2023 overall.
After a failed 1993 adaptation, Super Mario Bros. is now likely to become Hollywood’s next major movie franchise, and a sequel is almost certainly going to be made. In the same way that the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ushered in an era of movies based on comic books, 2023 may be remembered as the year that saw the release of HBO’s The Last of Us and a flood of movies and shows based on video games. Game on.