The Super Mario Bros. Movie significantly beat expectations at the box office this weekend, grossing $204.6 million domestically and an enormous $377 million worldwide over five days. With its worldwide gross, the film set a new record for biggest opening weekend of an animated movie in history, surpassing the $358 million global opening of 2019's Frozen II.
Even the film's three-day domestic opening of $146 million was quite impressive, as it marked the biggest debut of 2023 so far. For comparison, Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania opened to $106 million in February, and Avatar: The Way of Water debuted with $134 million in December. Mario also notched the biggest five-day domestic opening in history, beating Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's $200 million, as well as the biggest domestic opening for a movie based on a video game, easily surpassing 2022's Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which grossed $72 million over three days.
It was an especially strong performance considering The Super Mario Bros. Movie received mixed reviews from critics, earning a "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But audiences were more satisfied, as moviegoers polled by CinemaScore gave the film an A rating. This suggests Mario is likely to have strong legs in the coming weeks, leaving it well positioned to become the top-grossing movie of 2023 when all is said and done.
Three decades after an unsuccessful 1993 adaptation, Super Mario Bros. is now likely Hollywood's next major movie franchise, and a sequel is surely guaranteed. Combined with the release of HBO's The Last of Us, 2023 may be remembered as the year that ushered in a flood of movies and shows based on video games, the same way the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ushered in an era of movies based on comic books. Game on.