Long Range Box Office Forecast: Nintendo & Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie On Course for Stellar Easter Debut, Potential $100M+ Long Weekend Haul

Photo Credits: Universal / Illumination / Nintendo ("The Super Mario Bros. Movie")

This week’s report takes a first look at the box office prospects for Universal, Illumination, and Nintendo’s anticipated Super Mario Bros. Movie, plus and Amazon’s Air. Both are slated for Easter weekend debuts.

Additionally, key trends are impacting tracking for Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Updated projections for that film are also in the table below.


  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie is generating considerable awareness and interest across all four audience quadrants as a multi-generational franchise with family appeal, compounded by strong goodwill for both the Nintendo and Illumination brands.

    Most projection models are stronger than those of any animated release since Frozen II outside of Illumination’s own Minions: The Rise of Gru last summer, and some more bullish metrics indicate that latter film’s scale of performance is on the table.

    With no other major family releases since December’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, a brisk 92-minute runtime for Mario, and a long runway into early summer with minimal direct competition, the surrounding absence of major family animation fare is likely to result in pent-up demand driving strong casual audience appeal.

    Those and other factors will play big roles over the long six-day holiday opening, beginning with a Wednesday release leading into Good Friday, then concluding with Easter and a post-holiday inflated Monday — all before eventual staying power comes into view should word of mouth be strong.
  • Amazon’s Air boasts a premise with notable male adult appeal and a cast in Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Jason Bateman that could help it counter-program over the long holiday weekend. The studio recently oversaw MGM’s huge success with Creed III.


  • While video game movies have been more “miss” than “hit” throughout history, the trend has started to reverse thanks to the box office success of Detective Pikachu, both Sonic the Hedgehog films, and Uncharted in recent years.

    Mario is cut from a different cloth, though, as a fully-fledged animated film with no true points of comparison in the post-pandemic era, plus social media impact that leaves a bit to be desired (perhaps related to some mild criticisms over Chris Pratt’s voice casting) — so forecasts are volatile.

    It also remains to be seen how front- or back-loaded the film may be with the midweek release and fan demand in the mix.
  • Air‘s early marketing hasn’t generated significant online chatter, and despite the success of MGM’s Creed III, it remains to be seen how much strength parent company Amazon throws behind the ad push for this release. Reviews and word of mouth will also be important.
  • Closer on the radar, Shazam! Fury of the Gods continues to show its own volatility in pre-release tracking. Sales have slowed down over the past week relative to key comparison points as overall modeling softens on the sequel’s outlook when debuting next week.

Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2023’s Upcoming Calendar
(as of 3/10/23)

Release Date Title 3-Day (FSS) Opening Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Distributor
3/17/2023 Inside         Focus Features
3/17/2023 Moving On         Roadside Attractions
3/17/2023 Shazam! Fury of the Gods $32,000,000 – $42,000,000 -20% $77,000,000 – $110,000,000 -20% Warner Bros. Pictures
3/24/2023 John Wick: Chapter 4 $49,000,000 – $64,000,000   $130,000,000 – $182,000,000   Lionsgate
3/31/2023 Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves $21,000,000 – $30,000,000   $52,000,000 – $90,000,000   Paramount Pictures
3/31/2023 Good Person (Wide Expansion; Limited on 3/24/23)         United Artists Releasing
3/31/2023 A Thousand and One         Focus Features
4/5/2023 Air $6,000,000 – $11,000,000   $20,000,000 – $39,000,000   Amazon Studios
4/5/2023 On a Wing and a Prayer         United Artists Releasing
4/5/2023 The Super Mario Bros. Movie $71,000,000 – $105,000,000   

$301,000,000- $427,000,000

  Universal Pictures
4/7/2023 Paint         IFC Films

Unless otherwise noted, all figures above represent best and worst case scenarios for how each respective film is currently tracking based on existing market conditions and projected model fluctuation at the time of this report’s publication date. These are statistical snapshots, not final forecasts.

Additional pinpoint opening weekend and domestic total projections for theatrical movies up to 12 months from release are available to clients.

For more information about this article or to report any corrections, please contact the author.

Photo Credits: Universal / Illumination / Nintendo ("The Super Mario Bros. Movie")