The box office continues to heat up as the summer season approaches.
Illumination and Universal’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie remains a monster at the multiplex as it crosses the $400 million mark domestically and $866.1 million globally. It will easily win the weekend race in North America with a projected haul of $58 million for a domestic cume of $434.1 million through Sunday. Overseas, it’s on course to earn another $65 million for a foreign total of $432 million.
The movie adaptation of the Nintendo video game is playing more like an all-audience blockbuster than an animated tentpole thanks to its multi-generational appeal and will become the first movie of 2023 to join the billion-dollar club.
Super Mario continues to make history. At $58 million, the pic would supplant Jurassic World ($46.4 million) to rank as Universal’s biggest third weekend in history. It would be the seventh-biggest third weekend among any film at the domestic box office after surpassing Spider-Man: No Way Home ($56 million) and the biggest for an animated title, not adjusted for inflation.
Other new records: Mario is now the highest-grossing animated film in Universal history at the domestic box office after besting Minions: The Rise of Gru ($369.7 million) and the third-highest of any Universal movie behind behind Jurassic World and E.T. The Extraterrestrial, unadjusted.
Coming in a strong No. 2 at the domestic box office is Warner Bros.’ new supernatural offering Evil Dead Rise, the fifth installment in the cult series created by Sam Raimi. The movie earned $10.3 million from 3,402 locations on Friday for a projected opening of $23 million or more (some have it higher). That’s ahead of expectations. Directed and written by Lee Cronin, the pic has been embraced by critics and earned a B CinemaScore from audiences (that’s a good grade for the horror genre).
Evil Dead Rise stars Lily Sullivan and Alyssa Sutherland as sisters in a twisted familial tale of demonic possession. Morgan Davies, Gabrielle Echols and Nell Fisher co-star.
The movie was originally intended to go straight to HBOMax, but Warners switched course as part of its overall focus on theatrical, a mandate handed down when Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav took office.
Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant is also opening this weekend. Distributed by MGM, the military action thriller took in $2.3 million from 2,611 theaters on Friday for a projected third-place finish of $6.1 million. The well-reviewed film earned an A CinemaScore from audiences.
The Covenant stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a U.S. Army sergeant who goes back to Afghanistan to rescue his former interpreter, played by Dar Salim, from the clutches of the Taliban.
The big headline at the specialty box office is Ari Aster’s Beau Is Afraid, which is expanding nationwide after scoring a stellar start last weekend in four theaters. The mind-bending film, starring Joaquin Phoenix, is expected to gross $2.7 million or more from 926 locations. Beau Is Afraid should come in No. 9.
Elsewhere, specialty distributor Searchlight decided to open Stephen Williams’ Chevalier nationwide from the get-go. The period drama stars Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the famed French nobleman, violinist and conductor who was of mixed race.
Chevalier may fall outside of the top 10 in its debut with a projected $1.5 million from 1,275 theaters to place No. 11. It grossed $540,000 on Friday.