Continuing the momentum established by a series of hits in the month of March, Universal’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie is raising the stakes at the global box office. The animated video game adaptation has already passed the $400 million mark worldwide in a week. The film has made $240 million at the domestic box office, and an additional $194 million from overseas markets, for a global total of $434 million.
The film is passing Universal’s own Warcraft adaptation ($439 million worldwide) as we speak, which means that today, it will be declared the highest-grossing video game adaptation of all time at the global box office. Super Mario has already passed hit video game adaptations such as Detective Pikachu ($433 million globally), Rampage ($428 million globally), Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($405 million globally) and Uncharted ($401 million worldwide).
Super Mario debuted to record-breaking numbers on Wednesday. It grossed $31 million on its first day of release, followed by $26 million on Thursday and $55 million on its first Friday. Over the extended five-day weekend, Super Mario shattered multiple records on its way to an astonishing $204 million domestic haul. This is the biggest opening ever for a video game adaptation (besting Warcraft’s $210 million debut), the biggest worldwide opening for an animated film (ahead of Frozen 2’s $358 million debut), and the biggest opening of 2023 (ahead of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s $225 million global debut).
Featuring the voices of Chris Pratt and Charlie Day, Super Mario is a vibrant adventure that takes the plumber brothers to a fantastical new land, where they find themselves in the middle of a brewing conflict. This isn’t the first adaptation of the massively popular video game series; a doomed live-action film starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo was released in 1993. And even though it was panned at the time, it has since cultivated a legion of defenders.
Video Game Movies Have Typically Been Hit or Miss
Video game adaptations have been rather hit or miss historically, both in terms of quality and commerce. Warcraft grossed more than $400 million globally, but it also cost over $160 million to produce, and bombed domestically with just $47 million. This effectively scuttled plans for a sequel. And then there are the high-profile flops such as Prince of Persia: Sands of Time ($336 million worldwide) and Assassin’s Creed ($240 million worldwide), both of which failed to launch their respective franchises. While the 2018 Tomb Raider film ($274 million worldwide) was considered a moderate success, mostly because it cost relatively less to produce, the planned sequel never saw the light of day. But Super Mario’s tremendous performance right out of the gate means that we’re probably going to get more of these movies over the next several years.
The film’s box office performance marks yet another win for Illumination, which is quickly emerging as an animation house to be reckoned with. Illumination is best known for the Despicable Me and Sing franchises, and has two billion-dollar hits under its belt already. It remains to be seen if Super Mario can join that illustrious club.