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‘Mario Bros’ does not let off the gas

Holds top spot at box office for 2nd weekend

The Super Mario Bros. Movie retained the top spot at the US Box Office.
Greg W. Locke

Greg W. Locke

Whatzup Features Writer

Published April 19, 2023

As expected, The Super Mario Bros. Movie reigned supreme at the domestic box office in its second weekend, selling another $87 million and bringing its 10-day worldwide sales total to a remarkable $678 million. Whoa, guys. Whoa. 

This is a bona fide “post-COVID” hit film. Will it make a billion dollars? Will it make $2 billion? 

The movie with a star-studded voice cast of Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Seth Rogen, Keegan Michael-Key, Jack Black, and more has a score of 46/100 on Metacritic (based on 51 critical reviews). The same film has a score of 87/100 on Metacritic via the 1,024 user ratings and a 7.4/10 on IMDb.

This one is not going to get good reviews from critics, but it will make the kiddos happy. It’s also seemingly doing a decent job of satisfying the nostalgia of older viewers. 

Also at the Box

New horror film The Pope’s Exorcist starring Russell Crowe and Franco Nero had a decent first weekend, selling just more than $9 million domestically and bringing in another $27 million in foreign sales. 

John Wick: Chapter 4 held strong, taking the No. 3 spot with another $7.93 million domestically, So far, the Keanu Reeves action film has sold $160 million in the U.S. and $350 million worldwide. 

Vampire comedy Renfield starring Nic Cage as Dracula had a disappointing opening weekend, taking the No. 4 spot with just $7.7 million in sales despite screening on 3,375 screens. Woof. 

Ben Affleck’s Air dropped off hard, finishing fifth at with just $7.72 million in sales over its second weekend. So far, Air has sold $33 million domestically and $54 million worldwide. Ouch. Those aren’t the numbers of a new classic, Ben. 

Also of note, Ari Aster’s much-anticipated new film, Beau Is Afraid starring Joaquin Phoenix, started to test screen in Los Angeles and New York City, selling $320,000 on four screens, selling every ticket available. Good job, Ari. This one is getting some interesting reviews. I’m going to see it, and will almost certainly report back, and finally maybe even give my thoughts on this current class of “elevated horror” directors.

New this week

This weekend will see, in addition to the expansion of Beau Is Afraid, the release of Chevalier based on the true story of composer Joseph Bologne; To Catch a Killer starring Shailene Woodley and Ben Mendelsohn; the horror film Evil Dead Rise; Ray Romano’s Somewhere in Queens; and Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. 

I get the impression The Covenant might do surprising numbers over a four-week stretch. Mostly, I think people will be going to Mario, Wick 4, and, of course, the dreaded Beau.


I recently realized that I just passed the 20-year anniversary of the first time Whatzup published my writing. 

That first piece was an album review for, well, a record I can’t recall. For about three years, from 2003-2005-ish, I only wrote album reviews, one, two, or three reviews a week over that period. 

Eventually I started to write a weekly column about local hip-hop, if you can believe that, before taking the managing editor job for the newspaper. I went from struggling to get through writing a single album review to writing several reviews a week, at least two columns a week, regular feature stories, and who-knows-how-much filler copy. All the brainpower I could muster (and for $13/hour). 

For a few years all I did was write and edit. Eventually I had a weekly music column, which lasted a number of years, before starting the ScreenTime column in 2009. 

During my time with Whatzup, the paper has moved offices several times, had several managing editors, been reformatted twice, and has had two owners. 

Big shoutout to anyone who has read my stuff with any regularity over the last 20 years. 

As I look back through the years a bit, I’ve realized that, aside from a few friendships and an ongoing passion for film, music, and basketball, I don’t really have anything as consistent as my relationship to this paper that has published, by my count, more than 2,200 pieces of my writing. 



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