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‘Mario’ tops charts again; ‘Beau is Afraid’ wins in limited

‘Mario’ scored the best 2nd weekend ever for an animated movie in North American theaters
This image released by A24 shows Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from “Beau is Afraid.” (Takashi Seida/A24 via AP)

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” scored the best second weekend ever for an animated movie in North American theaters with $87 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday. The family-friendly Universal release dropped a slim 41% from its record-making opening weekend.

With $94 million from international showings, “Mario’s” global total now stands at a staggering $678 million, surpassing “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” to become biggest film of 2023 in just two weekends.

“There are not enough adjectives to describe the enormity of this box office performance,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comsore.

For most blockbusters, second weekends are usually down by about 60%, making “Mario’s” 41% drop especially noteworthy. According to Comscore, only a handful of films that opened over $100 million have had less of a fall, including “Shrek 2,” “Frozen 2,” 2002’s “Spider-Man,” “The Force Awakens” and 2016’s “The Jungle Book.”

“To the casual observer that may not seem like a big deal, but that is an important metric,” Dergarabedian said. “It’s the greatest indicator of audience love for the movie.”

“Mario” faced little major competition this weekend even with a slew of new national releases including “ Renfield,” “The Pope’s Exorcist,” “ Mafia Mamma ” and the animated “ Suzume.” It still has two weekends before “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” flies into theaters to jumpstart the summer moviegoing season.

Sony and Screen Gem’s R-rated “The Pope’s Exorcist” starring Russell Crowe as the late Father Gabriele Amorth — the chief exorcist of the Diocese of Rome from 1986 to his death at 91 in 2016 — fared the best. It made an estimated $9.2 million from 3,178 locations.

Third place went to “John Wick: Chapter 4” in its fourth weekend with $7.9 million. The Lionsgate action pic has now made over $160.1 million domestically.

Universal’s “Renfield,” the supernatural thriller starring Nicolas Cage as Dracula and Nicholas Hoult as the title character, opened in fourth place with $7.8 million.

Some wondered if opening “Renfield” and “The Pope’s Exorcist” the same weekend — both R-rated and of similar genres — hurt the films. But Dergarabedian said that while audiences may have been similar, “these films play for more than just one weekend.”

Ben Affleck’s Air Jordan origin story “Air” rounded out the top five, with $7.7 million in its second weekend to bring its total domestic earnings to $33.3 million.

Makoto Shinkai’s PG-rated anime “Suzume,” released domestically by Sony with both dubbed and subtitled versions available, opened in 2,170 theaters and grossed an estimated $5 million in ticket sales.

A24 also debuted its new Ari Aster R-rated mind-bender “Beau is Afraid,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles where it made $320,396 over the weekend, boasting many sold out showings. The 3-hour odyssey from the director of horror favorites “Hereditary” and “Midsommar” expands nationwide on Friday.

“Beau’s” nearly $81,000 per-screen average is as remarkable as the slim “Mario” drop, Dergarabedian said, and is playing out in a marketplace with options for every kind of moviegoer.

“It’s one of the most diverse lineups of films I’ve seen on the marquee in years rivaling a streaming service in terms of the depth and breadth of content,” Dergarabedian said.

READ ALSO: New this week: ‘Judy Blume,’ Rodrigo y Gabriela, Minecraft

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” $87 million.

2. “The Pope’s Exorcist,” $9.2 million.

3. “John Wick: Chapter 4,” $7.9 million.

4. “Renfield,” $7.8 million.

5. “Air,” $7.7 million.

6. “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” $7.4 million.

7. “Suzume,” $5 million.

8. “Mafia Mamma,” $2 million.

9. “Scream VI,” $1.5 million.

10. “Nefarious,” $1.3 million.


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Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press

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