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‘Super Mario Bros.’ Crosses $1 Billion at Global Box Office

Universal/Illumination’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has officially done what no other animated movie since the pandemic began has been able to do: reach the $1 billion mark at the global box office.

The Nintendo adaptation has hit the mark at the start of its fourth weekend in theaters as it adds an estimated $37.5 million from North American theaters along with an estimated $69 million from overseas. It is the 11th film in animated history and the first of the 2020s to reach $1 billion, passing “Minions: The Rise of Gru” to become the highest grossing movie of the post-shutdown era.

In the coming week, “Super Mario Bros.” will join “The Incredibles 2” and the “Lion King” remake as only the third animated film to gross more than $500 million domestic. With approximately $150 million more, it will pass the global run of the first “Minions” film to not only become Illumination’s highest grossing movie ever but become the highest non-Disney/Pixar animated title in box office history.

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Rather than perform like most Illumination films with turnout heavily focused on families, “Mario” has continued to draw out moviegoers from across the demographic spectrum like a four-quadrant blockbuster weekend after weekend. The film’s strong weekend holds may wear off next weekend with the release of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” but the film may still earn strong support and repeat viewings from families with younger children given the Marvel film’s darker, more violent tone.

Elsewhere on the charts, several new releases are struggling to find much of an audience. Leading the newcomers is Lionsgate’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” which industry estimates have earning a $5-6 million opening weekend from 3,343 theaters. That is below projections for a $7-9 million launch against a reported $30 million production budget.

This low total is in spite of excellent reception with a 99% Rotten Tomatoes score, an A on CinemaScore and an 88% overall positive rating on PostTrak. Based on Judy Blume’s acclaimed 1970 novel, “Margaret” is aiming to draw out women over the age of 55 who are usually slower to come out to theaters. It is possible that this film legs out among that demographic heading into Mothers’ Day, though it will soon have to compete with Focus Features “Book Club: The Next Chapter.”

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On a per-theater basis, Lionsgate is getting more bang for its buck from “Sisu,” a Finnish thriller about a Lapland prospector who slaughters hoards of Nazis to protect his newfound treasure. Released on just over 1,000 screens this weekend, “Sisu” is set to make around $3 million with strong Rotten Tomatoes scores of 93% critics and 90% audience.

Just above “Sisu” is Lyca Productions’ “Ponniyin Selvan — Part 2,” the second half of the Indian historical epic from director Mani Ratnam, which industry estimates have opening to $3.8 million from 600 locations. That’s just slightly below the $4 million opening earned by “Part 1” when it was released last fall.

Finally, Sony/Affirm’s boxing biopic “Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World” is opening to an estimated $2.8 million from 3,054 locations

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