The Super Mario Bros. Movie just wrapped up its first box office weekend and made a ton of money in the process. Its five-day opening run brought in $204.6 million in the U.S. and $377 million globally, beating Sonic the Hedgehog, which previously held the record for the “highest grossing” video game movie debut. Three decades later and Nintendo is still trouncing Sega.
The Illumination adaptation of Super Mario Bros. posted some other impressive stats over the weekend as well, though it’s not the cleanest of comparisons since the movie opened on a Wednesday ahead of the Easter holiday weekend (theaters around me were full of kids off for spring break). The Mario movie’s $204 million opening was the highest ever for a five-day release, beating out Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, for example. It was also the biggest release ever for an animated movie globally, beating the previous record held by Frozen 2.
Update 4/14/2023 12:30 p.m. ET: The Super Mario Bros. Movie has now surpassed $500 million sales globally, officially making it the most successful video game movie adaptation at the box office ever.
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Variety reports it was an especially big release for Illumination—it’s highest ever beating out 2015’s Minions—and also beat out recent Universal Studios releases like Jurassic World Dominion and Fast and Furious 9. The Mario movie’s weekend box office was still well short of Avengers: Endgame, which currently holds the record at $357,115,007 domestically, but long story short: it’s going to post hundreds of millions in profit for everyone involved, including Nintendo.
That’s not necessarily surprising for a family-friendly blockbuster featuring the most popular video game mascot ever, though it’s still impressive given the array of negative reviews the movie released to. It’s still at just 56 percent on Rotten Tomatoes on the critics’ side, which even puts it behind Sonic. At the same time, the audience score remains overwhelmingly approving at 96 percent.
Plenty of groundwork has already been laid for sequels, which seem like a lock. Time will tell if the movie’s financial success will make Nintendo even more comfortable embracing film and TV adaptations for its other properties. The Legend of Zelda was, at one time, set for a Netflix spin-off until plans were later canceled. With Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and The Last Of Us being breakout hits, maybe Nintendo will take a second look. God knows studios and streaming platforms are desperate for new content.