The Super Mario Bros. Movie box office vs budget: here's how much it made
Nintendo and Universal's Super Mario Bros. Movie made $337 million at the box office, surpassing both its budget and Disney's Frozen 2's weekend opener record
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Minting Super Mario coins
🍄 Mario Movie box office: $377.6 million globally and $204.6 million in the US
🥶 It beat Disney’s Frozen 2 record for an animated film’s opening weekend
🇯🇵 More Yen coming: it’ll release in Nintendo’s home, Japan, on April 28
💰 $100 million budget for the Mario Movie from Nintendo and Universal
😬 Perspective: the 1993 live-action Mario film made just $38.9m
The Super Mario Bros. Movie box office
Nintendo and Universal and minting coins with the smash success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie and its record-breaking box office results from this past weekend. By the end of a one-week run, it’s likely to have made four times its production budget.
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Globally, the Mario movie box office haul was $377.6 million, with $204.6 million of that amount being attributed to US audiences, according to Box Office Mojo. This means that the family-friendly PG-rated computer-animated film made more money than previous record holder Disney’s Frozen 2 during its first weekend in theaters.
Of course, Mario got $150 in ticket sales from me alone because I decided to do a big comparison: The Super Mario Bros review in 3D vs 4DX vs IMAX vs Dolby for the ultimate theater showdown.
More Mario box office numbers to come
The Super Mario Movie box office figures don’t yet include Japan, Nintendo’s home country. The movie is set to release in Japan on April 28, 2023. You can expect the global and domestic totals to grow as word of mouth and positive audience scores bring in even more interest in the Mario franchise. It’s further proof that movie critic scores don’t count for very much.
All of these record-breaking figures are on top of what Nintendo and Universal are raking in for their in-real-life joint venture: a Mario theme park, as you’ll read about in our Super Nintendo World review (my movie experience went a lot smoother than my outing at Universal Studios – they still have kinks to work out). And it’s on top of the steady income Nintendo has made from the best Mario games of all time over the last 38 years and the best Mario games on Switch over the last six years – in fact, they remain some of the best Nintendo Switch games in 2023.
Comparison: 1993 vs 2023 Mario box office
This is a major turnaround for The Super Mario Bros. franchise. It was 30 years ago that the 1993 live-action Mario movie made its debut and its box office total was just $20.9 million in the US, noted Box Office Mojo. That type of box office revenue was a disaster even back then, although the movie now has a bit of a cult following.
Digging a bit further, I found that its global box office was $38.9 million, according to Variety (subscription). Neither box office figure is for just one weekend – that’s the total box office domestically and globally. Ouch.
Unlike the Super Mario Bros. Movie 2023 box office revenue, the movie from 30 years ago hasn’t had a chance to earn revenue streaming. No streaming service has it and it’s not available to buy digitally. You can only find it available to buy for $5 on DVD and VHS on Amazon. It’s like Nintendo wants you to forget about the live-action Mario.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie budget
Looking into The Super Mario Bros. Movie budget, I felt like there were two sides to the Mario coin when telling the story of how it cost $100 million for production. Is that a massive figure or a great deal for Nintendo and Universal? Well, that figure makes it the most expensive film to date from Illumination, the Universal Pictures-owned studio behind the computer-animated movie.
At the same time, that seems cheap compared to the $200 million budget of Disney’s Lightyear, the Toy Story spin-off that focused on Buzz Lightyear but didn’t have as big of a box office during its run in theaters. Even Frozen 2, which came out in 2019, had a $150 million budget and likely benefitted from being a sequel with many of the same characters reused.
There’s inevitably going to be a sequel with the immediate green light of The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2. The box office revenue the Mario movie generated in one week (it hasn’t been out for a total of seven days just yet, so $400 million in one week is very likely since it’s now at $377 million) will likely be four times its budget.
An inevitable Mario Movie 2 was further evidenced if you stayed for the post-credits scene of the Mario movie. Nintendo and Universal already teased the next Mushroom Kingdom character to star in The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2 – but I won’t spoil the surprise just in case you haven’t seen the first film just yet.