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Box Office: ‘Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Scores $31.7 Million, ‘Air’ Lands $3.2 Million Opening Day

©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

The Super Mario Bros. Movie” launched to the top of box office charts, collecting a mighty $31.7 million on opening day. Ben Affleck’s sports drama “Air,” which also debuted on Wednesday, nabbed $3.2 million from 3,507 venues.

After a bigger-than-expected opening day, estimates for Universal and Illumination’s big screen adaptation of the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise have been revised up to $92 million over the traditional weekend and $141 million in its first five days of release.

Those ticket sales continue a strong period at the box office following March releases “Scream VI,” “Creed III,” “John Wick: Chapter 4” and “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.”

At the international box office, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ignited with $34.7 million from 44 markets on Wednesday, led by Mexico ($5.9 million), U.K. and Ireland ($4.8 million) and China ($4.7 million). It’s expanding to 70 overseas territories by Sunday.

Air” is projected to earn $10.6 million over the weekend and $16 million to $18 million in its first five days of release. Amazon is backing the $90 million-budgeted movie, which is one of the rare films from a streamer to get a traditional theatrical release. It’s not clear how long the film will play on the big screen before it’ll stream on Prime Video — or what kind of ticket sales it’ll need for Amazon to count the experiment as a win.

Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic directed “Mario,” which features a voice cast of Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy and Jack Black and follows the mustachioed plumber and friends as they prepare to stop the all-powerful Bowser from world domination. Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman praised “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” as “sheer animated fun,” writing that “second time’s the charm for Mario on film.” He’s referring to the disastrous 1993 live-action “Super Mario Bros,” starring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi. Along with better reviews, the upcoming $100 million-budgeted animated adventure will benefit from the months-long lack of movies for family audiences.

Air,” meanwhile, is catering to adult moviegoers, which have been especially selective in post-pandemic times. In this case, great reviews and a starry cast should help in filling seats. “Air” recounts the true story of the Nike shoe salesman who pursues NBA rookie Michael Jordan for a deal to wear their shoes. In addition to directing the film, Affleck co-stars with Matt Damon and Viola Davis.

In Variety’s review, chief film critic Peter Debruge called “Air” a “funny, touching Cinderella story” and the “ultimate example of the American dream.”

Variety's Rebecca Rubin contributed to this post.


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