May 23, 2024

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Super Mario Bros. Movies brings back the family box office

Super Mario Bros. Movies brings back the family box office

Movie theaters have struggled to recover from the pandemic, in part, because the once-reliable family audience has wandered off. Last year, family films – largely animated ones – accounted for 17 percent of worldwide ticket sales, about half of what they were in 2019.

But over the weekend, the Super Mario Bros. movie came out. The movie from Universal Pictures families widely, grossing an estimated $146.4 million in ticket sales in theaters in the United States and Canada, for a total of $204.6 million since its arrival Wednesday. The PG-rated movie cost Illumination Entertainment and Nintendo nearly $100 million.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” about Brooklyn plumbers who set out on a magical and treacherous realm known as the Mushroom Kingdom, has racked up an extra $173 million overseas — as a result one Hollywood trade news site dubbed “Crazy plumb,” noting that it was on par with the results of mega Universal franchises like “Fast and Furious” and “Jurassic World.”

Are family movies making a comeback that Hollywood can once again count them as relatively sure things?

Studio executives and movie theater owners were practically wheeling the action over the weekend chanting, “Yeah!”

“This is extraordinary,” Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic theatrical distribution, said Sunday. “The numbers continued to increase and grow as the weekend went on.”

Box office analysts were more cautious. said David A. Gross, film consultant for W.L.L Box office authority. The last five animated films Disney released to theaters have been ticket-selling disappointments. (Those includestrange worldand “Lightyear” last year, and “Encanto,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and “Ron’s Gone Wrong” in 2021, the year affected by the pandemic.)

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“There are still some unanswered questions about family films,” Mr. Gross said in an email. Disney has two upcoming animated films:racist“set in a world whose inhabitants consist of fire, water, earth, and air, in June; and”he wishesA musical about a little girl and a star falling from the sky is scheduled to premiere in November.

Taking the kids to the movies can be expensive—up to $110 for a family of four in New York City, and that’s without the popcorn ($9.29 for the little one) or one soft drink ($7). Families also got used to watching new animated films at home during the pandemic, when Disney premiered Pixar films like “Luca,” “Turning Red” and “Soul” on the streaming service, bypassing theaters entirely. The streaming service’s movies are “free,” or so they might seem to anyone who’s already a Disney+ subscriber ($8 a month for the basic version).

For the weekend in North America, Super Mario Bros. Movie ranked first easily. Second place was a bit of a picture finalist, with “John Wick: Chapter 4” (Lionsgate), and “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor.” Thieves (Paramount) and Air (Amazon) are estimated to have grossed around $14 million each. dollar.

Ben Affleck’s “Air” has collected nearly $20 million since arriving Wednesday on 3,500 domestic cinema screens, a total Mr. Gross called “excellent.” He noted that the sports drama — “Air” about Nike’s efforts in the 1980s to lure a young Michael Jordan into its struggling basketball brand — tends to net about $5.4 million in ticket sales.

The turnout for “Air” confirmed Amazon’s decision to release the well-reviewed film in theaters, where it will run exclusively for at least a month before it becomes available on the company’s Prime video streaming service. For Amazon, the theatrical release is a losing streak — a way for Prime Video to compete for top talent, who want their movies seen on the big screens. Analysts estimated that Amazon paid $130 million for the rights to “Air” and spent an additional $50 million on marketing.

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Air is the first film produced by Artists Equity, the production company founded by Mr. Affleck, Matt Damon, and Redbird Capital.

But the weekend belonged to “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” Among certain demographics, the film felt like a cultural event, or what Mr. Gross called “the urgency of cinema in action.” It was no accident: Marketers at Universal’s televised sporting events (March Madness, NFL Championship Games, NBA All-Star Game, Super Bowl) packed in promotions and staged a stunt on “The Tonight Show” in which members of The film’s voice actors (Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Keegan Michael Key) sang Mario’s song.

Universal theme parks around the world helped fuel the fire. Universal Studios Hollywood recently opened Super Nintendo World, a plush-themed expansion featuring Brothers Mario. Gravity was a It succeeded resoundinglywith early entry tickets sold out daily since its opening on February 17.

Comscore senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian noted, “The Super Mario Bros. movie.” It had the biggest opening ever for an animated film that isn’t a sequel, clearing “The Secret Life of Pets” (2016), and the second-biggest opening for an animated film. “Incredibles 2” (Disney-Pixar) ranks first, having collected $183 million during its first three days in 2018.

Universal transformed itself into an animation superpower under the leadership of its president, Donna Langley. She oversees two animation factories: Illumination, which was founded by Chris Meledandri (“Despicable Me,” “Ice Age”), and DreamWorks Animation, which spawned Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, an Oscar-nominated sequel that reached $12.4 million in ticket sales in December, eventually collecting $480 million worldwide. Universal’s upcoming animated films include “Strays,” an R-rated dog comedy set to hit theaters in June. The studio is also working on a reboot of the Shrek franchise.

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Received “The Super Mario Bros.” mixed to negative. But its instant success among ticket buyers — who give the film an A in CinemaScore exit polls — adds to a recent trend in Hollywood: It seems that studios, in search of well-established, universally appealing intellectual property, have finally cracked the code on adapting video games for the big screen.

The film industry’s tumultuous history with the genre began 30 years ago, when the first video game-based movie, “Super Mario Bros.,” became a hall-of-fame event. In recent years, studios have become newly enamored with game adaptations, resulting in hits like “Sonic the Hedgehog” (Paramount) and “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” (Warner Bros.). On TV, “The Last of Us” (HBO) and “The Witcher” (Netflix) are hit movies based on games.

Mr. Orr, president of worldwide distribution, noted, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” , which played in 3,343 theaters in the United States and Canada, capitalized on nostalgia. Nintendo introduced the Mario Bros games in the 1980s. About 26 percent of the weekend audience was over 35.

“Illumination and Nintendo have teamed up to make a movie that fans will love,” said Mr. Orr. “People wanted to go out and fully enjoy these characters they’ve known for decades.”