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‘Mario Bros.’ has super opening weekend

Video-game adaptation dominates at box office

The Super Mario Bros. Movie, starring the voices of Chris Pratt as Mario and Charlie Day as Luigi, dominated the U.S. box office in its opening weekend.
Greg W. Locke

Greg W. Locke

Whatzup Features Writer

Published April 12, 2023

A film called The Super Mario Bros. Movie, ostensibly about two plumbers who save a princess, opened big, selling $204 million domestically over its first weekend of release. Add in foreign market sales and Mario has already sold $377 million worldwide. Whoa. 

This one is even bigger than I think anyone expected it to be. Based on the opening box office, if I have to guess, I think we’ll get at least six Mario films in this franchise. Yay for us. 

So far, this Illumination and Nintendo collaboration featuring the voices of Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, and Fred Armisen has a score of 47/100 on Metacritic, which, unlike the box office results, is something I think we all could have predicted. 

Reviews don’t matter with this one, though, as these films are made for children and the nostalgic. 

Also at the Box

John Wick: Chapter 4 took the No. 2 spot at the box with another $14.6 million in sales, upping its 17-day total to $122 million in the U.S. and $269 million worldwide. I’ve explained in past columns why I don’t find much appeal in the Wick flicks, but I think it’s great that they’re doing well. Gotta love a big action film that you know is going to end up being thought of as a cult classic. 

I can’t help but wonder if Keanu Reeves, who is now 58, will still be playing Wick in his mid-to-late 60s. And yes, I will give you my Top 10 Keanu films: 

10. Parenthood (director Ron Howard)

9. The Gift (Sam Raimi)

8. Johnny Mnemonic (Robert Longo)

7. A Scanner Darkly (Richard Linklater)

6. Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola)

5. The Matrix (The Wachowskis)

4. River’s Edge (Tim Hunter)

3. Speed (Jan de Bont)

2. Point Break (Katheryn Bigelow)

1. My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant)

Further proof that working with great directors is the way to go if you want to have a memorable acting career. 

Rounding out last weekend’s Top 5 were Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves at No. 3 ($14.5 million), followed by Ben Affleck’s Air ($14.4 million) and Scream VI ($3.3 million), respectively. 

Also of note, the Owen Wilson film Paint flopped hard, selling less than $1 million over its first weekend of release, while How To Blow Up a Pipeline about activists plan to, you guessed it, blow up an oil pipeline, sold out almost every screening it had on 12 screens over its first weekend. I saw said film and believe it to be a new classic.

New this week

This weekend will see the release of a handful of mid-level films, including horror films The Pope’s Exorcist and Nefarious, action comedy Mafia Mamma, sports biopic Sweetwater, vampire comedy Renfield, and, of course, the much anticipated new epic from Ari Aster, Beau Is Afraid

Beau Is Afraid is a surrealist three-hour, $35 million film starring Joaquin Phoenix, Patti LuPone, Nathan Lane, Amy Ryan, and Parker Posey and shot by Pawel Pogorzelski. I get the impression this one is going to be special. 


As mentioned, I recently saw How To Blow Up a Pipeline and was blown away (sorry). The previous week, I saw A Thousand and One and believe it’s also a classic. 

Along with Beau, we also have two Wes Anderson films to look forward to this year, as well as Killers of the Flower Moon, a film people are already saying might be Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. 

Add in Oppenheimer, a new David Fincher film, a new Mission: Impossible, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, Dune: Part Two, Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, Sam Esmail’s Leave the World Behind, Wonka, and many more, and whoa 2023 is going to be a fun one for cinephiles.

Hit me up at and let me know what movies I forgot to mention, your thoughts on A Thousand and One, or whatever else is on your mind.


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