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The Super Mario Bros. Movie Debut Levels Up The Box Office

It was already apparent that "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" was hitting on some special box office powerups before the weekend even began thanks to its Wednesday opening. Now, Sunday morning has come along, and the animated film has continued to smash box office expectations. With a $146 million domestic opening weekend (not counting the almost $60 million it grossed on Wednesday and Thursday), Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) are now the stars of the biggest opening weekend of the year so far.

Variety also reports that its $146 million opening weekend has given "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" the second-best opening weekend for any animated film, falling short of only the 2019 remake of "The Lion King" and its phenomenal $191 million opening weekend. And if you were to classify the "Lion King" remake as live-action, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" could be considered to have had the biggest box office debut for any animated film, ever. 

That makes "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" a legitimate heavy-hitter, the success of which various media conglomerates will be attempting to replicate for some time to come. Even Cinemark theaters took the unusual step of releasing a press statement about the film's success. "'The Super Mario Bros. Movie's' strong performance with the family audience this weekend is just another example of the consistent consumer enthusiasm for seeing great films on the big screen," said Wanda Gierhart Fearing, the chief marketing and content officer for Cinemark.

"The Super Mario Bros. Movie" has scored some big success at the box office, and it seems that several factors might be contributing to the film's position as a new box office juggernaut.

The movie has grossed nearly $400 million worldwide

The makers of "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" might have to call in Wario to rake in all the excess coins from the film's gross, which is currently at $377 million and counting. And as David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research told Variety, it's a perfect storm of commercially promising elements: "This is a five-quadrant audience: families, plus younger and older males and females. It's a marketer's dream." If kids enjoy watching this movie again and again as much as they've enjoyed playing the actual "Mario" games over the years, its path to box office phenom status seems pretty clear.

Other possible factors for the film's outsized success include a movie theater ecosystem that's been unusually bereft of family movies, as well as good old nostalgia for Mario and his familiar assortment of friends and enemies. And while video game-based films have recorded a hit-or-miss record at the box office, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is cashing in on consumers' love of Mario to score a win for the game-to-screen adaptations.

Time will tell whether the movie will continue its box office dominance, or if it will see a drop-off like the one recently suffered by "Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania." However, given the largely positive word of mouth from audiences, as well as the fact that "Mario" is punching above expectations, such a scenario probably isn't very likely. In fact, a more plausible question is just how far up "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" will continue to soar before its theatrical run is over.

"The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is also Illumination's best opener to date, surpassing even "Minions" and its $115 million domestic opening weekend. As Mario himself has been known to say: "Wahoo!"