After that initial critical reception, it seems audiences do not care at all how people viewed The Super Mario Bros. Movie as it is on its path to becoming the biggest animated opening weekend ever. Going by now, its projection is pushing the film towards an impressive $195M domestic opening but what will truly make it the biggest release yet is that it’ll probably end its global bow over a 5-day weekend at $368M.
The title was previously held by Frozen 2, which opened globally to $358M. It’s an impressive feat for the latest Illumination film that also made quite a bang last year with its Minions sequel almost making a billion and becoming one of the year’s biggest releases. The studio’s approach to animation may not be welcomed by critics, but it certainly works for audiences.
There’s a lot of discussion surrounding the latest performances by Disney’s animation projects with Super Mario Bros. Movie and recently Puss in Boots: The Last Wish pulling some incredible performances at the box office. While many might go the Internet’s usual route of taking information out of context, there’s a lot at play here that to some degree is Disney’s own fault.
Dreamworks and Illumination don’t have a “streaming home” per see, which means that there’s no expectation that their projects will eventually be available. Disney, however, spent almost three years building a “streaming first” strategy which has shot their staying power at the box office with even more frontloaded box office performance and even negative critical reception having a bigger impact due to “can always watch it later.”
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is one of Marvel Studios’ weakest releases at $467M, which is still a number most would hope to have on their resume. With a weak Chinese market, which elevated its previous entries, and the previous streaming strategy, Disney took away any real need for its core audience, families, to watch it while it is in theaters. Same as we saw with its animated fair that does incredible numbers on Disney+. With the announcement of a digital and physical release ahead of Disney+, we’re seeing the first attempts to make up for that very issue.
It’ll be essential to ensure their animated projects have a strong showing as families simply aren’t there and Super Mario Bros. Movie has the advantage of nostalgia with boomers and Millenials at its side. Its performance is comparable to Avatar: The Way of Water and Star Wars: The Force Awakens which are both built strongly on nostalgia. Hell, even Top Gun Maverick got that extra boost for the same reason, and we’re seeing a much more noticeable trend that studios are likely going to abuse moving forward.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, The Number