Biggest movie of 2023 (so far): ‘Super Mario Bros. Movie’ trounces Guardians and Little Mermaid


Family-friendly movies are topping the box office so far this year with The Super Mario Bros. Movie bringing in an impressive $573 million domestically and $1.3 billion worldwide—the first movie of the year to cross the $1 billion mark.
Special Screening Of Universal Pictures'
Key Takeaways
  • Disney and Sony own the other top spots with a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid and three superhero movies rounding out the five highest-grossing films of 2023.
  • Nintendo, the owner of the Mario franchise and characters, teamed up with animation studio Illuminations to make the No. 1, which was in production for almost three years and cost $100 million to make.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie topped Ant Man And The Wasp: Quantumania for the biggest domestic opening of the year when it released in April and had the largest five-day opening of any movie, surpassing 2009’s Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen with $200 million.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the highest-grossing Marvel film this year with $351.5 million at the domestic box office, but it doesn’t break the list of the top10 highest-earning Marvel movies—the No. 10 spot is Iron Man, which made $409 million.
  • It’s a similar story for The Little Mermaid, whose $271.4 million domestic pull so far puts it behind more successful live action remakes The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Jungle Book.
The Top Five Movies

1: The Super Mario Bros. Movie (April 5) — $573 million domestic box office, 95% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes

2: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5) — $351.5 million domestic box office, 94% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes

3: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (June 2) — $319.5 million domestic box office, 95% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes

4: The Little Mermaid (May 26) — $271.4 million domestic box office, 94% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes

5: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Feb. 17) — $214.5 million domestic box office, 82% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes


The Super Mario Bros. Movie stands out as a rare win for video game-inspired films that have historically flopped. The same franchise was the inspiration for one of the worst performing video game adaptations of all time: “Super Mario Bros.” was released in 1993 and made just $20 million domestically. Dennis Hopper, who played a humanoid King Koopa, called the film his “worst job.” While the list of flops is long, a shorter list of success stories have become cult classics. Angelina Jolie has been praised for her role as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider films and 2010’s “TRON: Legacy” garnered some critical acclaim while managing to pull in $172 million domestically.

What To Watch For

Barbie and Oppenheimer. Two of the year’s most anticipated movies will go head to head in July, though early projections say neither of them are likely to knock The Super Mario Bros. Movie off its perch. Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which has launched a marketing strategy that includes a Malibu dreamhouse available for rent, is expected to bring in at least $55 million on opening weekend and between $120 and $226 million overall, according to Boxoffice Pro, the official publication of the National Association of Theatre Owners. Oppenheimer, directed by box office darling Christopher Nolan, is expected to bring in between $40 and $55 million opening weekend but likely won’t top $200 million overall, Boxoffice Pro said. Both release July 21.

Big Number

$1 billion. It’s a coveted ceiling that Mario already broke, and other new movies that could hit the mark include The Marvels (Nov. 10) and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (Dec. 20).

This article was first published on and all figures are in USD.

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