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Right on track

NEW YORK (AP) – It’s still Mario Time at the box office.

The Super Mario Bros Movie led ticket sales for the fourth straight weekend in United States (US) and Canadian theatres with USD40 million as the global haul for the Universal Pictures release surpassed USD1 billion, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The Nintendo videogame adaptation dominated the month of April in theatres, smashing records along the way. Over the weekend, it faced little new competition, though that will change next week when Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3” kicks off the summer movie calendar and is expected to move Mario to the side. Studios spent the last week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas promoting coming blockbusters and promising big returns at the summer box office.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie was estimated to easily cross USD1 billion in worldwide box office on Sunday, making it the 10th animated film to reach that milestone and the first since 2019. With a domestic total thus far of USD490 million, international sales are even stronger. The Illumination-animated release took in USD68.3 million overseas over the weekend, pushing its international haul to USD532.5 million.

Second place went to Evil Dead Rise. The horror sequel from Warner Bros held well in its second week, especially for a horror film, dipping 50 per cent with USD12.2 million.

Khris Davis in ‘Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World’. PHOTO: SONY PICTURES
This image released by Nintendo and Universal Studios shows Mario, voiced by Chris Pratt, left, and Luigi, voiced by Charlie Day in Nintendo’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” (Nintendo and Universal Studios)

Among the weekend’s newcomers, the Judy Blume adaptation Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret fared the best. The Lionsgate release grossed USD6.8 million in 3,343 locations, a decent start for the USD30 million-budgeted coming-of age tale written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig (The Edge of Seventeen).

As expected, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, about an 11-year-old (Abby Ryder Fortson) going through puberty, drew an overwhelming female audience. With stellar reviews (99 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and strong audience scores (an “A” CinemaScore), Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, should play well through Mother’s Day.

Lionsgate also released the Finnish action movie Sisu in 1,006 locations. The film, about a prospector (Jorma Tommila) whose gold is stolen by Nazis, grossed an estimated USD3.3 million. That was a solid result for the rare international film to receive a nationwide opening. Reviews have been good (93 per cent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) for writer-director Jalmari Helander’s film.

Sisu managed to surpass the weekend’s most heavyweight new release: Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World. The film, from Sony’s Christian production company Affirm Films, gives a faith-based twist to the sports biopic. But after getting dinged by bad review, it didn’t punch very hard, with USD3 million in 3,054 theatres.

Nida Manzoor’s Polite Society, about a British-Pakistani high-schooler (Priya Kansara) with dreams of becoming a stuntwoman, debuted with USD800,000 in 927 theatres. The Focus Features film, one of the standouts of January’s Sundance Film Festival, blends kung-fu with Jane Austen in a story about London sisters.

One of the weekend’s biggest successes was a familiar box-office force. The Walt Disney Co’s rerelease of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi grossed USD4.7 million in just 475 theatres. Disney put Jedi (the 1997 special edition version) back into theatres to commemorate the 1983 film’s 40th anniversary.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theatres, according to Comscore.

1. The Super Mario Bros. Movie, USD40 million.
2. Evil Dead Rise, USD12.2 million.
3. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, USD6.8 million.
4. John Wick: Chapter 4, USD5 million.
5. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, USD4.7 million.
6. Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, USD4.1 million.
7. Air, USD4 million.
8. Ponniyin Selvan: Part Two, USD3.6 million.
9. The Covenant, USD3.6 million.
10. Sisu, USD3.3 million.

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