THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE powered up the domestic box office by earning an additional $87M in its second weekend, a very respectable drop of only 41% from its record-setting opening over Easter weekend. Through 12 days, SUPER MARIO has taken in $348M in North America and has become the highest-grossing movie of the year.
To put this remarkable accomplishment in historical perspective, it is already the 65th biggest domestic release of all time, has the 12th highest gross for an animated picture ever, and ranks as the 9th biggest Universal movie release in the studio’s 111-year history. Moreover, this has taken place in early April, without any boost from the summer or holiday season rush. SUPER MARIO still has three more weeks without serious competition before the May 5th debut of Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3.
It is still too early to project how high SUPER MARIO will go since it has the animated family genre all to itself until June 2nd when SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE arrives. Perhaps this year’s spring hit will spark some of the same box office magic that TOP GUN: MAVERICK found last year, to the delight of both moviegoers and exhibitors. Its early success has already assured that sequels will follow in the years ahead, managed deftly by the animation wizards at Illumination.
Sony’s horror movie THE POPE’S EXORCIST opened in second place with $9.2M. Its story is based on the real-world exploits of Father Gabriel Amorth, an Italian priest who was the Chief Exorcist at the Vatican. The script was adapted from Amorth’s memoir An Exorcist Tells His Story, with Russell Crowe starring as the padre.
While critics have not warmed up to the picture, delivering a 50% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences are more intrigued with their solid 88% rating. Produced for a modest $18M, the picture will almost certainly be profitable. After generating $12M last week in eight international markets and $9.2M this weekend in the U.S. and Canada, its worldwide total is already $27M.
Lionsgate’s JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 4 finished in 3rd place by collecting $7.9M in its fourth week in theatres, a drop of 45% from the prior week. After 24 days, JW4 earned $160M to become the top-grossing movie in the JOHN WICK franchise.
Universal’s RENFIELD took fourth place with $7.8M in its opening weekend, somewhat lower than pre-release expectations. The horror comedy stars Nicholas Hoult in the title role as the tortured assistant of Dracula, played by Nicolas Cage. It was directed by Chris McKay, who guided THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE to a very solid $176M box office in 2017. Critics have given RENFIELD a 59% Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes, whereas moviegoers have been more charitable with an 80% audience rating.
That said, it seems that both critics and audiences are enjoying Cage’s over-the-top performance as Count Dracula. This story is a modern take on the characters created by Bram Stoker in his famous 1897 novel. Set in New Orleans, Renfield falls in love with a traffic cop and decides that he will finally stand up to his master in an attempt to break free from his servitude. With a production budget of $65M, the movie still has a long way to go to be profitable.
Amazon’s AIR fell to fifth place with $7.7M, a drop of 47% from its last weekend’s opening. The Nike-Michael Jordan story has sold $33M in tickets over its first 12 days of release and seems unlikely to reach profitability on the strength of its theatrical sales, after investing $70M – $90M in production. We project that the final North American box office for AIR will land at approximately $55M.
From time to time, we highlight limited-release movies that we feel have the potential to break out as successful wide releases. A24’s BEAU IS AFRAID opened this weekend in four theatres in New York and Los Angeles, where it earned an impressive $320K, an impressive per-theatre average of $80K. The horror movie was directed by Ari Aster (MIDSOMMAR, HEREDITY), and is scheduled to expand into a nationwide release next weekend. While not yet expected to become a significant earner for the industry, BEAU could not have started any stronger in its NY and LA debut.
All movies this weekend grossed $140M, compared to $107M from the same weekend last year when the top movie was FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE which sold $42.1M in its Easter weekend opening.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF 4/13
Last week’s super-charged performance by THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE boosted the 2023 box office totals to new heights. After 14 weeks, 2023 stands at 139% compared with those same weeks from 2022 and 83% compared with 2019.