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Box Office Insights: Lessons from the Super Mario Bros. Movie Showtimes Success 2023

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Did you catch the buzz? The talk of the town is “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” It made a splash from the start, raking in a whopping opening weekend. As of today, it has grossed an impressive $678 million worldwide.

When this movie was about to premiere, 

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I took my young adult kids to an early screening, anticipating it could make waves – either for its performance or criticism about Chris Pratt’s voice. I hoped it would evoke some enjoyable memories for my children and planned to write about it for my column.

I didn’t anticipate that after watching the movie, we would all feel unsure about our thoughts on it. Usually, on the ride back home from the movie, I ask my kids about their favorite parts and what didn’t live up to their expectations. This time, there was a long period of quiet in the car. 

Eventually, we discussed how there wasn’t anything terribly bad or disappointing about the movie, but at the same time, we couldn’t pinpoint anything we absolutely loved. 

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Jack Black’s portrayal of Bowser was entertaining, and there were a few funny scenes with him, but overall, the movie lacked excitement and was quite plain.

What’s making this movie so successful?

In my view, it’s quite straightforward. The movie is built on a popular existing franchise, and it avoids anything offensive, annoying, overly politically correct (or incorrect, for that matter), or even slightly controversial. 

I mean, the only notable issues so far have been Chris Pratt voicing the main character and John Leguizamo expressing concerns about diversity. But those stories made headlines briefly and then faded away.

Time to Make Hollywood Listen!

In my extensive experience in film marketing and publicity, I’ve often heard filmmakers emphasize the importance of audiences supporting their movies, either in theaters or through streaming, to send a message to Hollywood. 

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In the faith-based film community, there’s a constant desire to make Hollywood aware of our presence. Whether the film carries a significant moral or spiritual message or is just pure entertainment, this sentiment is always part of the conversation.

Let me share a little secret. The big Hollywood industry is well aware of our presence. While some filmmakers stressed the need to convey a message, I was also receiving interest from production companies, networks, and studios seeking content for faith-based audiences. 

Just look at how Hallmark swiftly put together clean Christmas movies, making them a staple from October through at least February every year. Hollywood is paying attention!

Now, let’s reinforce this awareness and show Hollywood what we truly want and support in movies. It’s time to make our voices heard loud and clear!

The villain thing in the Super Mario Bros.

A captivating antagonist is crucial for many films, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie is no different. While the focus was on giving these iconic characters a cinematic touch, having a villain was necessary to drive the plot. 

Even when Bowser wasn’t on the screen, his role was pivotal in bringing Mario and Donkey Kong together, enabling them to collaborate and face a greater threat. This collaboration and solidarity were significant elements driving the storyline and would not have been achievable without a significant adversary to conquer. 

Interestingly, Bowser’s impactful role in the movie might pose significant challenges for The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie has already introduced the games’ major villain

Bowser. Bowser stands out in the film because he’s the primary antagonist in the Super Mario video games. The post-credits scene hints at a sequel, raising questions about using the main villain right from the start. 

While it effectively crafted a strong narrative and cinematic world, it raises concerns for future storytelling. Bowser is universally recognized as the top antagonist in the Super Mario games, appealing not only to fans but also to those vaguely familiar with the Mario universe.

Bowser’s formidable appearance and personality make him a legendary villain in the gaming world. The movie humorously acknowledges this, staying true to its tone without distorting the character. 

It’s hard to picture a Super Mario movie without Bowser since he’s an iconic figure deeply embedded in the franchise. Even though the first movie showcased Bowser, the sequel, The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2, can revisit him, as in the games, he always makes a comeback after being defeated. 

The film might play with this idea for humor, but using the same villain in every movie could potentially weaken the impact compared to the games. Therefore, the movie might consider introducing a new antagonist for a fresh approach.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s Sequel Faces Challenge in Finding a Worthy Replacement for Bowser

Creating a follow-up to The Super Mario Bros. Movie that captures the enchantment of the original without Bowser is a tough task. Surprisingly, The Super Mario franchise doesn’t offer many prominent and captivating villains to choose from, especially beyond Bowser. 

He’s essentially Mario’s primary adversary in almost every game. The few other villains it does have may not appeal to a broader audience the way Bowser does. Additionally, losing Jack Black, who voices Bowser, would be a significant setback, and finding an equally adored actor to fill his shoes would be challenging.

Introducing a new antagonist poses difficulties but isn’t impossible. Bowser Jr. or the Koopalings could present a fun alternative as the primary threat. They would share similar wicked intentions and provide a way to involve Bowser in the story while also adding an element of humor due to their lack of maturity and experience. 

On the other hand, King Boo could bring a completely different film style and better integrate Luigi into the plot. Considering the hint at a Luigi’s Mansion storyline in The Super Mario Bros. The next film could focus on that, with Mario teaming up with Luigi to take on King Boo.

The Challenge of Antagonists in the Sequel Could Benefit Nintendo

At first glance, having a challenge with the villain in the sequel might seem like a problem, but it could turn out to be advantageous for Nintendo. While marketing the movie without Bowser could be a bit tougher, succeeding without him could greatly benefit Nintendo’s future. 

Making lesser-known villains a central part of Mario’s cinematic world could enhance their recognition among a broader audience. Unlike Bowser, who already enjoys mainstream appeal, characters like King Boo and Bowser Jr. don’t; these movies could elevate their popularity. Introducing these characters to the audience could also pique more interest in Nintendo’s games.

Children are a key target audience for the movie and could attract those who didn’t grow up playing Mario games. Similarly, parents with a gaming interest or those who haven’t played a Mario game in years could discover these villains and become more inclined to try out the games they originate from. 

If The Super Mario Bros. Movie sequel can succeed without Bowser, it also indicates that Nintendo can create successful films without their most iconic characters.

What’s the main point here?

“Super Mario Bros.” is a hit movie that has managed to avoid controversies and is not aligned with any specific group or agenda. It simply offers enjoyable content for all ages, even if you’re not familiar with the story. It’s a great, family-friendly movie that’s doing really well at the box office.

Closing Remarks

In a time when we scrutinize entertainment for its affiliations, strategies, and sometimes overly complex approaches, this movie, devoid of any agenda and offering a delightful family experience, arrives precisely when it was most welcome.

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