Universal/Illumination’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” continues to show “Top Gun: Maverick”-esque legs with $58.2 million grossed in its third weekend, pushing its box office totals to $434 million domestic and $871 million worldwide.
Within the coming week, “Super Mario Bros.” will pass the $939 million global total of last year’s Illumination hit “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and become the first animated film since the pandemic began to gross $1 billion worldwide. From there, it is likely to pass the $1.15 billion global total of the first “Minions” to become one of the Top 5 highest grossing animated films ever and the highest not made by Disney or Pixar.
Ranked among all films, this third weekend total for “Super Mario Bros.” stands seventh highest in box office history and the highest for any animated film, topping the $46.2 million third weekend of “Frozen II.”
That Disney sequel had the advantage of being extremely popular with families starting from its Thanksgiving release in 2019 and continuing well into the Christmas season, grossing $1.45 billion worldwide. Whether “Mario” can match it will depend on whether it can keep up its incredible legs against May blockbusters like Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” Universal’s “Fast X” and Disney’s remake of “The Little Mermaid.”
In second this weekend is Warner Bros./New Line’s “Evil Dead Rise,” which is earning a solid $23.5 million opening from 3,402 theaters. That meets pre-weekend independent projections of an opening at or just above $20 million and is a notch below the $25.7 million unadjusted opening of TriStar’s revival of “Evil Dead” released in 2013.
Originally produced for a release on HBO Max, “Evil Dead Rise” was shifted to a theatrical release following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger last year. It has been well received by horror fans with a B on CinemaScore and Rotten Tomatoes scores of 84% critics and 81% audience.
In third is MGM’s “The Covenant,” a new war thriller from Guy Ritchie that like so many dramatic films aimed towards older audiences is struggling with just $6.2 million grossed from 2,611 theaters.
“The Covenant” has also received strong reviews with an 81% critics and 98% audience RT score to go with an A on CinemaScore, but audiences over the past two years have largely eschewed films based around real life issues and this film set during the U.S. War in Afghanistan is turning out to be not much different even with such positive word-of-mouth.
Much farther down on the charts, A24’s “Beau Is Afraid” and Searchlight’s “Chevalier” are seeing low returns this weekend. “Beau Is Afraid,” after scoring the second highest per theater average of the post-shutdown era in limited release last weekend, is earning just $2.7 million from 965 theaters.
This is not too surprising given that Ari Aster’s three-hour surreal horror film about a neurotic man and his abusive mother is polarizing critics and audiences with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 68% and 74%, with even reviews hailing it at Aster’s magnum opus acknowledging that it is a very challenging film.
“Chevalier” is doing worse, grossing a mere $1.5 million from 1,275 theaters and opening outside of the Top 10. The film stars Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Joseph Bologne, a virtuosic composer and violinist born in the Caribbean who struggled against racism as he gained the favor of Marie Antoinette.
Among holdovers, Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 4” is in fourth this weekend with $5.75 million grossed to bring its domestic total to $168 million. Amazon Studios’ “Air” completes the Top 5 with $5.5 million grossed and a total of $41 million after three weekends.