“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is officially the first film of the year to cross the coveted $1 billion milestone at the global box office.
As of Sunday, after 26 days of release, the animated video game adaptation, from Universal, Illumination and Nintendo, has grossed $490 million in North America and $532 million internationallly. It’s only the fifth movie of pandemic times to join the $1 billion club, following “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Jurassic World Dominion” and “Avatar: The Way of Water.”
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” opened in theaters on April 5 and generated a towering $204 million in its first five days of release, notching the biggest opening weekend of the year and the second-biggest debut ever for an animated movie.
Since then, it has become the highest grossing movie domestically and globally of 2023, as well as the highest-grosser ever for a film based on a video game. Those records are especially encouraging because the last time that Mario and Luigi graced the big screen, in 1993’s disastrous live-action “Super Mario Bros,” became a legendary example of Hollywood’s inability to adapt video games.
This time around, “Mario” — featuring the voices of Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy and Jack Black — has thrived as a four-quadrant blockbuster, appealing to moviegoers young and old. It has also benefitted from brand recognition and nostalgia for the popular video game, as well as the months-long lack of movies targeted at family audiences prior to its release.
Directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, the film follows the Brooklyn-based plumbers known as Mario and Luigi, who are sucked into the mystical Mushroom Kingdom. Along with Princess Peach, they prepare to stop the mighty Bowser from total domination.