‘Super Mario Bros’ To Beat ‘Are You There God?’ Debut – Deadline


SATURDAY AM: Refresh for updates and chart ….Two holdovers, Super Mario Bros Movie and Evil Dead Rise, are continuing to have a gravitational pull on the under 25, both with fantastic holds with frosh wide releases, once again this spring, seeing single digit million results.

Illumination/Nintendo/Universal’s Super Mario Bros at $37.5M continues to break records with the best fourth weekend ever for an animated movie, beating Incredibles 2‘s $28.4M. Domestic running cume by tomorrow raises to $487.5M.

Lily Sullivan in ‘Evil Dead Rise’

Everett Collection

Now, New Line’s Evil Dead Rise — the young-ins love this movie so much, it’s only easing 50% to $12.3M. (Smile by the way had an amazing second weekend hold of -18%, but -45% for a horror movie is also something to brag about). That second weekend decline is better than that of the 2013 Fede Alvarez remake at -63%. By EOD Sunday, this latest version of the Sam Raimi franchise will be pacing ahead of the Alvarez edition by 9.8% with $44.5M.

All of this is assailing ahead of Lionsgate’s feature adaptation of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret ($5.65M) in third, the same studio’s limited release of Finnish genre pic Sisu ($3M) in 10th place, and Sony/Affirm’s Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World ($2.8M) in 11th. Some distributors haven’t issued their Saturday estimates so these figures are apt to change.

Further answering exhibitors’ demand for product is Disney with the 40th anniversary re-issue of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, which is gravy for the Mouse House at $4.9M in 4th place at 500 theaters and a fantastic near $10K per screen.

Rachel McAdams as Barbara Dimon and Abby Ryder Fortson as Margaret Simon in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Photo Credit: Dana Hawley


Diving into the numbers this AM, oy, Margaret. Despite excellent reviews at 99%, an A CinemaScore, and great PostTrak of 4 1/2 stars and 88% positive, there’s no urgency for the first big screen take of a Judy Blume novel. You can’t say that there’s no place for female skewing movies based on bestsellers: Sony’s Where the Crawdads Sing in the midst of a very competitive summer busted through with a $17.2M opening, $90.2M stateside take, and near $75M in profit — and that was off bad reviews! But that was a four-year old bestseller, not a 53-year old one. Margaret‘s prime audience are now moviegoers who are slow to make their way to theaters, and even slower post pandemic: over 50 Caucasian women. Fifty-percent of Margaret‘s audience were over 45, women over 25 numbered 62%, women under 25 were 16%. The 55+ demo was the largest quad with Caucasians number 70%. The movie was moved off a Sept. 16 release date when there was hardly any product on the calendar, but was then staring in the eyes of New Line’s (then perceived) Harry Styles potential breakout, Don’t Worry Darling. Would Margaret have made more money if it was in the fall? Possibly, but not likely double: the overall IP is a feathered fish for today’s female moviegoers. What Lionsgate wanted here was the opportunity to play into Mother’s Day weekend. The pic is on a healthy 53-day theatrical; perhaps it finds a 5x multiple and grosses its $30M budget. At $5.9M, Margaret‘s opening is slightly ahead of the $4.75M opening for Kelly Fremon Craig’s The Edge of Seventeen. That smart teen movie written by Craig was also praised by critics at 94% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and liked by the few who say it with an A- CinemaScore, but was no Easy A at the box office because that female teen audience will only come out for movies based off hot books. In 2023, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret based on a 1970 novel, is out of its era.

Many will say this adolescent movie set in 1970s should’ve gone to streaming, after all, where’s the appeal? I say not to streaming: Craig is a talented filmmaker and is a great voice for women. If we keep burying great cinema on streaming, then buried it will remain. It’s like Martin Scorsese said at CinemaCon this past week: If we keep burying cinema on streaming, how then can we cultivate the future of filmmakers? “Getting younger people to enjoy the theatrical experience … on a screen that is bigger and more engaging than films they see home will make a difference.” At least the big screen launch here for Margaret will draw enough attention to trigger ancillaries. Margaret played best in the East, South and Midwest with the AMC Century City making around $10K.

So while Lionsgate is struggling to grab female audiences with Margaret, on a whole other level they’re showing some promise in the Sony Stage 6 genre movie, Sisu. This pic is buzzing among Cineastes, with the studio, I hear, even setting up a private screening for movie lover, comedian Patton Oswalt.


FRIDAY AM: As The Super Mario Bros Movie barrels toward a box office score that will make it the highest-grossing animated movie ever at the domestic box office, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 waits to pounce, Lionsgate is navigating the pre-summer calendar this weekend with two movies aimed at two different demos: the long-awaited feature take of Judy Blume’s 1970 novel, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret aimed at women, and their pickup of the Sony Stage 6 Finnish genre title Sisu, aimed at genre dudes.

Are You There God? opened to $600,000 in a combo of Thursday night previews and early access screenings. There’s a chance that the adaptation, produced by James L. Brooks and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, could assail above its expected $7 million-$9 million opening to low double digits as it widens to 3,343 theaters.

Craig’s last movie with Brooks, the teenage, The Edge of Seventeen, did $220K in Thursday previews on its way to a $4.75M opening.

Are You There God? cost an estimated $30M and stars Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Abby Ryder Fortson in the title role, and Benny Safdie. The 1970s-set movie about a young girl’s challenges with adolescence from The Edge of Seventeen filmmakers is currently 99% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Lionsgate’s Sisu surprised Thursday, taking in $585K. The pic, which is only at 900 theaters this weekend, is expected to do $4M, but it could be more than that now. The 94% fresh feature film from Jalmari Helander (Rare Exports, Big Game) follows Aatami, an ex-soldier in 1945 who discovers gold in the deep wilderness of Finland while on his way into the city. Brutal Nazis on a scorched-earth mission discover his treasure trove. He must go through outrageous lengths to get his gold back – even if it means killing every last Nazi. Aatami is portrayed by the filmmaker’s long-time collaborator Jorma Tommila.

RELATED: ‘Sisu’: TIFF Midnight Madness Pic From Stage 6 Picked Up By Lionsgate

Sony also has the faith-based aimed Affirm title Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World this weekend.

Khris Davis in Big George Foreman

Sony Pictures Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

The pic tells the story of the future heavyweight champion of the world from his impoverished childhood to channeling his anger to becoming an Olympic Gold medalist and World Heavyweight Champion. A near-death experience took him from the boxing ring to the pulpit. However, when he sees his community struggling spiritually and financially, Foreman returns to the ring and makes history by reclaiming his title, becoming the oldest and most improbable World Heavyweight Boxing Champion ever. George Tillman, Jr. directs. Khris Davis plays George Foreman. Sony has the movie booked at 3,000 locations with an outlook of $5M. Yesterday, previews that began at 4PM made $250K at 2,600 theaters. The $32M production was co-financed with TSG.

RELATED: ‘Big George Foreman’ Review: Boxing Biopic Takes Middleweight Swing At Heavyweight Story

Universal Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection

Meanwhile, Illumination/Universal/Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros Movie, made $2.97M to lead Thursday box office, -1% from Wednesday, for a third week of $73M and running total of $450M. Weekend four is expected to be in the $30M range. Through 23 days, Super Mario Bros is pacing 9% behind Incredibles 2 at the same point in time. That doesn’t mean it can’t catch up.

New Line’s Evil Dead Rise made $1.59M yesterday, -5% from Wednesday for a week’s gross of $32.2M. Weekend 2, estimated to decline -60% like most horror pics do, will be around $9.8M.

John Wick: Chapter 4

Keanu Reeves in ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’


Other highlights among the top five at the Thursday box office: Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 4 finally became the top grossing installment in the franchise stateside with $171.5M, besting John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’s $171M. Fourthquel’s fifth Thursday was $500K, -2% from Wednesday for an $8M week.

MGM’s Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant at 2,611 saw a $457K Thursday, -4% from Wednesday for a first week of $8.67M.

Amazon’s Air at 2,823 theaters made $395K yesterday, -9%, for a third week of $7.3M, total gross of $43.6M.

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