Barbie’s $1 Billion Box Office Eclipses Mario Bros. In The US

Barbie and Ken take Mario for a ride.

Image: Universal Pictures / Warner Bros. / Kotaku

If you had told me back when the Switch came out that Nintendo would release a major Mario motion picture five years later starring Christopher Pratt, I might have believed you, but I wouldn’t have ever guessed it would go on to be one of the biggest box office hits of 2023. I also would never have guessed that it would one day be surpassed by a Barbie meta comedy starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

But that’s exactly where we find ourselves during this incredibly bizarre moment for global mass market entertainment. Here was the recent top of the 2023 Hollywood leaderboard according to Box Office Mojo:

Super Mario Bros. Movie

  • Domestic: $574,245,750
  • International: $780,913,000
  • Worldwide: $1,355,158,750


  • Domestic: $541,907,382
  • International: $660,600,000
  • Worldwide: $1,202,507,382

Deadline now reports that Barbie has broken 574.2 million domestically, making it likely only a matter of time before it takes the lead worldwide too as Barbie continues its movie theater run in the waning weeks of our nuclear pink Barbenheimer summer. It’s shocking for two legacy companies that have been counted out so many times before to have not only managed to hang around but still somehow dominate the culture zeitgeist through memes, TikToks, and the sheer charisma of a handful of Hollywood stars.

My colleague Germain Lussier over at Gizmodo sees a clear juxtaposition in the two box office dynamos, with Mario Movie on the side of sugary c-suite slop and Barbie on the side of creatives trying to prove box office hits can also be great movies (Mario Movie’s Tomatometer is 59 percent, Barbie’s is 88 percent). “The Super Mario Bros Movie, we think the creatives will eventually win,” he writes. “Barbie is the perfect example of everything this modern era wants, done right.”

I’m not so convinced. I think both movies are saccharine and astroturfed in their own way, while still each being a lot of fun. Maybe it’s my Nintendo nostalgia showing, or the fact that I’ve seen Mario Movie at least a dozen more times since downloading it for my kids, but it rips—as much as any movie designed to keep a four-year-old’s butt in the seat for hundreds of hours can. Barbie is much more clever, and its Easter eggs for pop feminism are no less satisfying to point at while elbowing the person next to you. I can’t wait for the Fortnite metaverse crossover.

Update 8/23/2023 12:03 p.m. ET: Added new info now that the Barbie movie has officially overtaken Mario.

Five Nights At Freddy’s Film Killing It At The Box Office

After just one weekend in theaters, Five Nights At Freddy’s is already breaking records and racking up an impressive $130 million at the global box office since releasing on October 27 to less-than-stellar reviews.

Following years of rumors and development, the long-anticipated Five Nights At Freddy’s movie is finally out. The film is based on the incredibly popular horror games featuring scary animatronics that hunt down protagonists at night. We first heard about a FNAF film all the way back in 2015 and according to producer Jason Blum, it took nearly a decade to get this movie made because the creator and developer behind the series, Scott Cawthorn, had a lot of input in every part of the film. And now, after all that work, Five Nights is out, just in time for Halloween. If you ask some folks, the scariest thing about FNAF might be its very low Rotten Tomatoes score. But that hasn’t stopped the creepy adaptation from setting numerous box office records and making a ton of money over its opening weekend.

The new PG-13 horror film starring The Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson closed out its opening weekend with an impressive $80 million in North America and $130 million globally. Keep in mind this film reportedly only cost $20 million to make, so it’s likely already profitable.

Universal Pictures / Blumhouse

As reported by Variety, according to Blumhouse and Universal, here’s a list of records and accomplishments FNAF set after its opening weekend.

  • Biggest opening weekend of the year for a horror film, overtaking “Scream VI” ($44 million)
  • The second-largest debut of all time for a video game adaptation, behind “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($146.3 million)
  • Biggest opening weekend ever for Universal and Peacock’s hybrid releases, beating the slasher sequels, 2021 “Halloween Kills” ($49 million) and 2022’s “Halloween Ends” ($40 million)
  • Highest-grossing opening weekend for Halloween weekend release, outperforming 2011’s “Puss in Boots” ($34 million)
  • Third-biggest debut for any horror film, trailing 2017’s “It” ($123 million) and 2019’s “It: Chapter Two” ($91 million)
  • Best debut ever for PG-13 horror film, besting 2001’s “The Mummy Returns” ($68 million)
  • Highest-grossing Blumhouse global opening of all time, ahead of “Halloween” ($91.8 million)

It’s wild to see Five Nights At Freddy’s outperforming Halloween, The Mummy, and Scream. It also beat out the new Exorcist film, which as of October 29, has racked up a total of $120 million—which is less than FNAF’s opening weekend. It’s also a great reminder that the Five Nights franchise, even if it’s not the newest IP in the world, is still extremely popular among kids and teenagers.

The film’s PG-13 rating disappointed some bloodthirsty fans and horror critics, but it also likely helped the adaptation do better at the box office as it made it easier for younger folks to head to the theater and check it out.

Of course, a low Rotten Tomatoes score could spell doom for the film’s second weekend, but at this point, Blumhouse and Universal are probably pretty happy with how it’s been received, considering it took nearly a decade to get this thing out the door. Now I just need a Megan and Five Nights At Freddy’s crossover film. Come on Universal, make it happen.


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