NEW YORK – It's still Mario Time at the box office.
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” led ticket sales for the fourth straight weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters with $40 million as the global haul for the Universal Pictures release surpassed $1 billion, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The Nintendo videogame adaptation dominated the month of April in theaters, smashing records along the way. Over the weekend, it faced little new competition, though that will change next week when Marvel's “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” kicks off the summer movie calendar and is expected to move Mario to the side. Studios spent the last week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas promoting coming blockbusters and promising big returns at the summer box office.
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie" was estimated to easily cross $1 billion in worldwide box office Sunday, making it the 10th animated film to reach that milestone and the first since 2019. With a domestic total thus far of $490 million, international sales are even stronger. The Illumination-animated release took in $68.3 million overseas over the weekend, pushing its international haul to $532.5 million.
Second place went to “Evil Dead Rise.” The horror sequel from Warner Bros. held well in its second week, especially for a horror film, dipping 50% with $12.2 million.
Among the weekend's newcomers, the Judy Blume adaptation “Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret” fared the best. The Lionsgate release grossed $6.8 million in 3,343 locations, a decent start for the $30 million-budgeted coming-of age tale written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig ("The Edge of Seventeen").
As expected, “Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret," about an 11-year-old (Abby Ryder Fortson) going through puberty, drew an overwhelming female audience. With stellar reviews (99% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and strong audience scores (an “A” CinemaScore), “Are You There God? It's Me Margaret,” should play well through Mother's Day.
Lionsgate also released the Finnish action movie “Sisu” in 1,006 locations. The film, about a prospector (Jorma Tommila) whose gold is stolen by Nazis, grossed an estimated $3.3 million. That was a solid result for the rare international film to receive a nationwide opening. Reviews have been good (93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) for writer-director Jalmari Helander's film.
“Sisu” managed to surpass the weekend's most heavyweight new release: “Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World.” The film, from Sony's Christian production company Affirm Films, gives a faith-based twist to the sports biopic. But after getting dinged by bad review, it didn't punch very hard, with $3 million in 3,054 theaters.
Nida Manzoor's “Polite Society,” about a British-Pakistani high-schooler (Priya Kansara) with dreams of becoming a stuntwoman, debuted with $800,000 in 927 theaters. The Focus Features film, one of the standouts of January's Sundance Film Festival, blends kung-fu with Jane Austen in a story about London sisters.
One of the weekend’s biggest successes was a familiar box-office force. The Walt Disney Co.’s rerelease of “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” grossed $4.7 million in just 475 theaters. Disney put “Jedi” (the 1997 special edition version) back into theaters to commemorate the 1983 film’s 40th anniversary.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” $40 million.
2. “Evil Dead Rise,” $12.2 million.
3. “Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret,” $6.8 million.
4. “John Wick: Chapter 4,” $5 million.
5. “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” $4.7 million.
6. “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” $4.1 million.
7. “Air,” $4 million.
8. “Ponniyin Selvan: Part Two,” $3.6 million.
9. “The Covenant,” $3.6 million.
10. “Sisu,” $3.3 million.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP