The movie’s success marks the best second weekend for Illumination and the potential to become the second-best weekend for an animated movie, behind only Frozen II’s $85.9 million. Incredibles II previously held the second-best weekend for a feature toon with a total of $80.3 million.
Box Office Market Booms with Counterprogramming
The weekend’s box office market has been bolstered by the addition of fresh genre counterprogramming. Universal’s Renfield and Sony/Screen Gems’ The Pope’s Exorcist have joined three other titles to bring the total domestic box office market to $133.3 million
. This figure represents a 20% increase from the same second weekend in April 2019, before the pandemic. It also marks a 24% increase from the same weekend in 2022, which was led by Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.
The release of Renfield and Pope’s Exorcist on the same weekend has created some competition for audience attention, with both movies attracting a similar demographic.
The leading demos for both movies are men and women over 25, with Renfield attracting 43% of men over 25 and 33% of women over 25, while Pope’s Exorcist is attracting 40% of men over 25 and 29% of women over 25.
Although the two movies have different themes, with Renfield being an R-rated horror comedy and Pope’s Exorcist being a straight-up R-rated horror title, there is a cannibalization of the audience going on.
Renfield is the more expensive of the two movies, with a budget of $65 million before P&A, while Pope’s Exorcist was priced at $18 million.
Pope’s Exorcist Emerges as More Profitable
Despite Renfield’s higher budget, Pope’s Exorcist is poised to be the more profitable of the two movies.
Universal’s 17-day theatrical window, spilling to PVOD, spilling to Peacock/Prime Video pay one window, has enabled the studio to pull some rabbits out of its hat when it comes to getting movies in the black.
Post-pandemic, when an animated movie like Super Mario Bros hits PVOD and remains in theaters, neither eats into the other, and the studio reaps big bucks. This strategy was effective for Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
Pope’s Exorcist has attracted a diverse audience, with solid turnouts by Latino and Hispanic moviegoers.
The leading demo for Pope’s Exorcist is Latino and Hispanic moviegoers, with 39% of the audience falling under this category.
Other diversity demos for Pope’s Exorcist include 33% Caucasian, 9% Black, and 19% Asian/other.
The movie played best in the South Central and West regions, where all top ten theaters were either in California or Texas. The Cinemark Downey was the top-grossing theater, earning close to $9,000.
‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Sets Another Record
Illumination is looking at another record three-day as the Universal/Nintendo co-production Super Mario Bros Movie is on its way to a $72M Friday-Sunday. This total marks the biggest opening weekend ever for an animated movie released in the month of April.
The movie, based on the iconic video game franchise, has been highly anticipated by fans for years, with speculation about the cast and storyline swirling since the project was first announced in 2017.
The film features an all-star cast, including Chris Pratt as Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, and Jack Black as Bowser, and is directed by Illumination founder Chris Meledandri.
This opening weekend box office success is a major win for Illumination and Nintendo, who are already planning a sequel.
It also marks another milestone in the recent resurgence of video game adaptations in Hollywood, following the success of films like Detective Pikachu and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Fans and critics have been buzzing about the movie’s colorful and energetic animation style, as well as the performances of the talented cast.
With its massive opening weekend numbers and positive reception, Super Mario Bros looks poised to become another major franchise for Illumination and Nintendo in the years to come.