Box Office: Super Mario Bros., Evil Dead Rise Thrive, Judy Blume Lags

Illumination’s animated film grosses $1 billion worldwide, while “Eight Mountains” was a rare special highlight.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (Universal) is projected to earn an additional $40 million in its fourth weekend, trailing only “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Black Panther” in 2018.

This brings Illumination’s animated film to $1.022 billion worldwide and $490 million domestically. If it reaches $650 million domestically — now possible — it will surpass every cartoon this century. (“Shrek 2” and “Incredibles 2” both topped $600 million on an adjusted basis).

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 3” (Disney) opening next weekend ends Mario’s No. 1 streak, but “SMB” remains strong for weeks to come. It could surpass “Maverick” ($719 million) — an even more impressive feat when it lacks premium concentration tickets and sells far more lower-priced kids tickets.

Lily Sullivan in it "Evil Dead Rise"

“Evil Dead Rise”

Although with a lower gross and hold, “Evil Dead Rise” (Warner Bros. Discovery) is at No. 2 with $12.5 million for positive news. The second-week drop of 50 percent was lower for a genre film. Even better, the $44.6M gross (easily surpassing $60M) came from a budget of under $20M.

The weekend box office total was around $99 million, but the two major entrants were disappointing. “Are you there, God? I Am Margaret” (Lionsgate) managed just $6.8 million despite excellent reviews, residual interest in Judy Blume’s classic novels and an A Cinemascore.

Why is this weak? The audience was 81 percent female, 81 percent over 25, and 77 percent white. Numbers like these make it difficult to get close to $10 million. This economical $30 million production is the kind of title that needs to work for a healthy theater industry.

“Big George Foreman” missed the top 10 with just $3 million. It looked like a winner: it was produced by Affirm Films, a faith-based production unit with significant returns on lower investments, and it had the benefit of the Foreman name. It was sports-related, like recent hits “Creed III” and “Air,” and Sony generally sees positive results for original titles. It appears to be Affirm’s costliest title (over $30 million) and a failure of its once formula of fusing religious themes into mainstream releases.

Three films with more limited releases opened in the first 1o. The premium screen re-release of “Return of the Jedi” (Disney) ranked fifth with $4.7 million in just 475 theaters. That brings the third title in the initial “Star Wars” trilogy to an adjusted total of about $865 million.



“Ponniyin Selvan: Part Two” (FDN), an expensive Indian sequel, finished at No. 8 with over $3.6 million from 600 theaters. “Sisu,” the Finnish World War II film that Lionsgate picked up after its Toronto festival debut, earned a respectable $3.25 million in 1,006 theaters.

Despite two strong titles leading the way, three other retainers fell below 30 percent, led by No. 4 “John Wick: Chapter 4” (Lionsgate) down 14 percent. “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor among Thieves” (Paramount) is down 25 percent and “Air” (MGM) is also down 27 percent.

Overall, the business remains strong compared to last year and 2019. The gross increased by 46 percent compared to last year, and remained a 37 percent improvement by the end of the year. That’s a great four months until 2023, but don’t expect that pace to keep up. (It started last May). Even though the comparison was a horrendous 24 percent from the 2019 weekend (Avengers: Endgame debuted), the four-week rolling average is still 102 percent.

“Eight Mountains” (Sideshow/Janus) was a bright spot in a mostly bleak special environment. The Italian Cannes Grand Jury winner paid a strong $36,000 at two New York theaters for the distributor’s best per-theater opening to date (preceded by “Drive My Car” and “EO”).

The equally acclaimed “RMN” (IFC), another Cannes competition title last year, achieved a different result. It grossed just $5,800 in two New York locations. The two new Abramorama releases showed better results. “32 Sounds,” a Sundance documentary about loudness, debuted with an above-average $9,224 at the New York Film Festival. Oliver Stone’s documentary “Nuclear Now” (Abramorama) fared better at two New York/Los Angeles theaters ($10,000 at two), ahead of a 300-theater nationwide one-day run on Monday.

Both films are post-Oscar; their countries did not submit any to the obsolete Oscar International category. The awards drew attention to some of the subtitled modest hits, such as “EO” and “Close” (A24).

A teenager wearing a bright green Pakistani festive dress raises his fist against a middle-aged woman wearing a bright pink Pakistani festive dress;  still from it "Polite Society"

“Polite Society”

Parisa Taghizadeh

Focus opened another Sundance 2023 title with a sub-$1,000 PTA, increasing revenue potential, with early PVOD and later Peacock showings declining. British comedy “Polite Society” collected $800,000 in 927 theaters.

Ari Aster’s “Beau Is Afraid” more than doubled its theater count, dropping nearly 50 percent and missing the top 10 by about $1.4 million. It amounts to $5.6 million.

Notable among specialty titles: Not a single feature film grossed more than four weeks. This is exceptional even in the current challenging environment.

The Top 10

1. The Super Mario Bros. movie (Universal) Week 4; #1 last weekend

$40,000,000 (-33%) in 4,204 (-146) theaters; PTA (theatrical average): $9,515; Total: $490,016,000

2. Evil Dead Rise (Warner Bros. Discovery) Week 2; #2 last weekend

$12,200,000 (-50%) in 3,417 (+15) theaters; PTA: $3,570; Total: $44,416,000

3. Are you there God? I’m Margaret (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 86; Evening. budget: $

$6,800,000 in 3,343 theaters; PTA: $2,034; Total: $6,800,000

4. John Wick: Chapter 4 (Lionsgate) Week 6; #4 last weekend

$5,000,000 (-14%) in 2,481 (-204) theaters; PTA: 2015 USD; Total: $176,155,000

5. Return of the Jedi (Disney) RE-RELEASE

$4,694,000 at 475 theaters; PTA: $988; Aggregate: (adjusted) $865,000,000

6. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor among Thieves (Paramount) Week 5; Last weekend #6

$4,100,000 (-25%) in 2,709 (-251) theaters; PTA: $1,513; Total: $88,160,000

7. Air (MGM) Week 4; Last weekend #5

$4,001,000 (-27%) at 2,402 (-421) theaters; PTA: $1,666; Total: $47,627,000

8. Ponniyin Selvan: Part Two (FDN) NEW – Est. budget: $32 million

$3,645,000 in 600 theaters; PTA: $6,076; Total: $3,645,000

9. The Alliance (MGM) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$3,615,000 (-43%) in 2,631 (+20) theaters; PTA: $1,374; Total: $12,294,000

10. Sisu (Lionsgate) NEW – Metacritic: 68; Evening. budget: $7 million

$3,250,000 in 1,006 theaters; PTA: $3,230; Total: $3,250,000

Other titles

Films (limited, extended, limited release, and award-oriented release) are listed by week of release, starting with those released that week; after the first two weeks, only films grossing more than $5,000 are listed.

The Eight Mountains (Sideshow/Janus) NEW – Metacritic: 81; The festivals are: Cannes 2022, Sundance 2023

$36,000 at 2 theaters; PTA: $18,000

Polite Society (Focus) NEW – Metacritic: 75; Festivals include: Sundance, South by Southwest 2023

$800,000 in 927 theaters; PTA: $858

32 Voices (Abramorama) NEW – Metacritic: 85; Festivals include: Sundance, South by Southwest 2022

$9,224 in 1 theater; PTA: $9,224

NMR (IFC) NEW – Metacritic: 81; Festivals: Cannes, Toronto, New York 2022

$5,800 at 2 theaters; PTA: $2,900

Nuclear Now (Abramorama) NEW – Metacritic: ; Festivals include: Venice 2022

$9,814 at 2 theaters; PTA: $4,907

Knight (Examination lamp) Week 2

$625,000 at 1,281 (+6) theaters; PTA: $488; Total: $2,778,000

Somewhere in Queens (Roadside attractions) Week 2

$321,215 in 499 (-103) theaters; PTA: $644; Total: $1,304,000

Other people’s children (Music Box) Week 2

$14,895 at 7 (+4) theaters; PTA: $2,128; Total: $35,007

Carmen (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2

$10,122 in 11 (+9) in theaters; PTA: $920; Total: $27,044

Beau is scared (A24) Week 3

$1,433,000 in 2,125 (+1,153 theaters; PTA: $674; Cumulative: $5,641,000

Suzume (Sony) Week 3

$535,000 at 440 (-1,730) theaters; Total: $9,754,000

Wildlife (Cinema) Week 3

$56,318 in 13 (-1) theaters; Total: $208,648

It pops up (A24) Week 4

$78,590 in 115 (+30) theaters; Total: $552,271

Joyland (Oscilloscope) Week 4

$33,510 at 30 (+22) theaters; Total: $134,298

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