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The Super Mario Bros. Movie Achieves Legendary High Score

This weekend was all about two working-class men: a Jewish carpenter named Jesus, and an Italian plumber named Mario. 

In the days that included Good Friday and Easter Sunday, audiences across the globe raced to theaters to see The Super Mario Bros. Movie as if the redemption of their very souls depended upon it. The estimated domestic gross was a staggering $206.4 million over the extended weekend frame, and $377 million globally, as per The Hollywood Reporter. This is a new record for the launch of an animated film, and it seems certain that the final tally will surpass Warcraft‘s $439 million, therefore making it the highest-grossing film based on a video game. Put those initials on the high score!

The movie, based on video games in the Nintendo universe, was directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, whose best known prior work is Teen Titans Go!, a comedic kid-friendly property based on DC Comics characters. The screenplay is credited to Matthew Fogel, who wrote Minions: Rise of Gru, has a shared story by credit on The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, and wrote the 2011 Martin Lawrence vehicle Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son.

The voice cast in the animated adventure includes Chris Pratt as the plucky plumber/adventurer Mario, Charlie Day as his brother Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Jack Black as the villainous Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, and Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong. (No one apparently voices you sighing, “oh, come on!!!” as you once again fail to pass the gauntlet of swinging fireball propellors, necessitating a return to the beginning of the board.)

As Deadline noted, the film’s tremendous take now places it as the number one domestic earner for a Wednesday through Sunday (beating Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.) For just the three-day Easter weekend, it now ranks third domestically with $146 million, behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s $181 million and Furious 7’s $161 million. All told, it’s a lotta coins for Universal, animation shingle Illumination, Nintendo, and 70-year-old Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who is credited as one of the film’s producers. 

Enthusiasm at the multiplex spread around this weekend, with a good showing for the Ben Affleck and Matt Damon project Air. While the movie is also centered on a beloved 1980s product, the Nike Air Jordan sneaker, this defiantly “for grown-ups” movie scored nicely with $20 million, a win for Amazon Studios and their first project to get an exclusive theatrical release. This is also the first movie out of the gate from the Bostonian pals’s new company Artists Equity. Warner Bros. is handling its international release, which brought in an additional $10.5 million, totaling $30.7, as per THR. Though these numbers are not Michael Jordan-sized, Deadline calls it “a great start” that also “provides a lot of hope for other distributors with similar fare.”

While Air was something of a swish with critics (a 92 percent at the up-or-down Rotten Tomatoes, and a score of 75 at the more nuanced Metacritic), one can not say the same for The Super Mario Bros. Movie, with its 56 percent and 47. Cinemascore, which polls exiting ticket buyers after the movie lets out, awarded an A to both pictures.