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Super Mario Bros film tops box office in opening weekend, and beyond

The Super Mario Bros Movie has become the highest-grossing movie of 2023 so far and is on track to be the highest-grossing movie adapted from a video game of all time. Currently, at $437 million dollars worldwide, it has dethroned Frozen II as the highest-grossing opening weekend for an animated film.  

The movie has even surpassed the most successful film on the Illumination production company’s (in conjunction with Universal) roster, which puts it ahead of the Minions franchise.

The success of the second movie adaptation of the popular video game is welcome news for the video game creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, and the entire production company.  The original live-action adaptation, released in 1993, did very poorly with critics despite still going on to eventually be a cult classic.  The reviews, and immediate panning of the film, starring the late Bob Haskins and John Leguizamo, led to Miyamoto avoiding any further attempts at adapting his video games to film until this latest iteration.

Analysts have speculated that the film has benefitted from the internet’s enthusiasm via memes, hashtags, illustrations, and posts by popular pages on TikTok, Instagram, etc.  To emphasize this impact, the hashtags “Super Mario Bros” and “Super Mario movie” have accumulated four billion views.  

Another potential force multiplier is the use of long enduring intellectual property.  Since the original Super Mario Bros video game was released in 1985, the franchise has never waned in cultural relevance.  With several popular follow-up games and tournaments dedicated to the game and its spin-offs (such as Super Smash Bros), the franchise has benefitted from support from every generation since its inception. Other production studios and filmmakers have tried to capitalize on this same model of high-value intellectual property with varying results. 

The end of the film teases sequels to come, which should come as no surprise to fans, as creators have been full throated in their support of many more films to come.  


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