Box Office: ‘Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Dominates Again as ‘Evil Dead Rise’ Scares Up $23.5 Million Debut

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” achieved the high score at the domestic box office, earning a massive $58.23 million in its third weekend of release. The animated family film easily fended off this weekend’s new releases, including a promising start for supernatural horror sequel “Evil Dead Rise” and tepid debuts for action-war thriller “Guy Ritchie’s the Covenant” and A24’s anxiety-inducer “Beau Is Afraid.”

After three weeks on the big screen, “Mario” has grossed $434.33 million in North America and $871 million globally to stand even higher as the biggest movie of the year. Those ticket sales, down just 37% from the weekend prior, rank as the highest third weekend ever for an animated film domestically (surpassing 2018’s “Incredibles 2” with $46.4 million in its third weekend of release) and the seventh-biggest third weekend of all time (overtaking 2021’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” with $56 million in its third weekend of release).

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Though “Super Mario Bros. Movie” steamrolled the competition, the R-rated “Evil Dead Rise” managed to collect a solid $23.5 million from 3,402 North American theaters in its debut. The film added $16.8 million at the international box office, bringing its global tally to $40.3 million. The blood-soaked thriller, from Warner Bros. and New Line, cost $15 million to produce and was originally intended to release on HBO Max before getting a traditional theatrical release.

“Evil Dead Rise,” a gory story about two estranged sisters who attempt to save their family from demonic creatures, has generated pretty good reviews and landed a so-so “B” CinemaScore from audiences. It’s the fifth entry in the long-running film series, which began with Sam Raimi’s 1981 low-budget thriller “The Evil Dead.” The latest installment is the first new entry in the series in 10 years, following 2013’s “Evil Dead” reboot, which grossed $97.5 million on its $17 million budget.

In third place, “Guy Ritchie’s the Covenant” opened in line with (albeit disappointing) expectations, bringing in a paltry $6.28 million from 2,611 theaters. The war thriller, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a soldier returning to Afghanistan to save his interpreter, has stellar reviews and an “A” CinemaScore to match, but it’s a tough box office environment for dramas aimed at adult audiences — and “The Covenant” wasn’t able to become an exception to the trend. Among opening weekend ticket buyers for the war thriller were 58% male and nearly 30% were over the age of 55.

“Reviews are very good and foreign business should be solid, but we’re coming off a strong run of sharply defined, high-concept releases,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “That’s leaving less room for a title like this to find its place.”

Elsewhere, the Joaquin Phoenix-led “Beau Is Afraid” stumbled as it expanded its theater count, landing in ninth place with $2.7 million from 965 venues. After a solid start in limited release, the head-trip from director Ari Aster has generated $3.1 million to date. It cost $35 million, so it’ll need to sustain momentum — and then some — in the coming weeks to justify that budget.

“John Wick: Chapter 4” and Ben Affleck’s sports drama “Air” rounded out the top five.

The fourth “John Wick” movie added $5.75 million from 2,685 venues in its fifth weekend of release, bringing its domestic tally to $168.88 million. It’s overtaken the global total for 2019’s “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” ($328 million) to become the highest earner of the Keanu Reeves-led action franchise.

“Air” took fifth place with $5.5 million from 2,823 theaters. To date, the Amazon film has earned $41.2 million at the domestic box office and $54 million worldwide. Those are decent ticket sales for a comedic drama aimed at older audiences. But “Air” was expensive, costing $130 million to make and market, so it’ll struggle to turn a profit in theaters. However, the movie is landing on Prime Video with more buzz than it would have gotten without a theatrical run. For Amazon, that kind of promotion may be enough to count as a win.

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