NATIONAL NEWS

‘Guardians Vol. 3’ and ‘Super Mario Bros.’ top box office again

May 14, 2023, 8:47 AM

Left to right; actors Vin Diesel, Pom Klementieff, director James Gunn, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, K...

Left to right; actors Vin Diesel, Pom Klementieff, director James Gunn, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan pose for photographers upon arrival at the gala event for the film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 at Disneyland Paris Saturday, April 22, 2023, in Chessy Marne La Vallee, east of Paris. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

Several new movies infiltrated theaters nationwide this weekend, from a lighthearted trip to Italy with Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton and Mary Steenburgen to a Ben Affleck-fronted detective thriller. The two top spots were once again claimed by Marvel and Mario, however.

In its second weekend, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” added $60.5 million from North American theaters, according to studio estimates on Sunday. That’s a slim 49% drop from its opening, which is rare for big superhero films that tend to be front-loaded and have big second weekend drops of 60% or more. As the smallest Marvel drop since the beginning of the pandemic, it also answers the “ superhero fatigue ” question that some floated last weekend. Including $91.9 million from international showings, “Vol. 3” has already grossed over $528.8 million worldwide.

Second place went to “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” with $13 million in its sixth weekend, bringing its domestic grosses just shy of $536 million. Families with younger children have had almost no other options at the theaters since Mario entered the picture, resulting in repeat viewings and its continued dominance at the box office, where it is still playing in 3,800 locations domestically. Globally, it’s at $1.2 billion.

With Chris Pratt in the leading positions of chart-topping movies, as Star Lord in “Guardians” and the voice of Mario, debates have ensued about how much of the draw is star power versus brand power.

It was an especially crowded weekend for new movies, opening both wide and limited in all genres and of all qualities. “ Book Club: The Next Chapter ” fared the best on the charts with $6.5 million from 3,508 locations. The sequel, released by Focus Features on Mother’s Day weekend, reunites the cast with director Bill Holderman and his co-writer Erin Simms. Audiences were heavily female (77%), Caucasian (59%) and over 45 (66%) and the hope is that there will be a Mother’s Day boost and decent holdover for the $20 million production. Older audiences typically don’t rush out on opening weekend. The first film opened to $13.5 million in 2018 and went on to gross over $104 million.

Robert Rodriguez’s “Hypnotic,” meanwhile, is bombing. The mystery starring Affleck as a detective whose daughter is missing cost a reported $65 million to make. It went into the weekend with poor reviews (32% on Rotten Tomatoes) and limited marketing from distributor Ketchup Entertainment, and earned just $2.4 million from 2,118 locations.

There was also quite a bit of competition on home screens, from a Michael J. Fox documentary on Apple TV+ to the Jennifer Lopez action pic “The Mother” on Netflix. “Air,” which is still in the top 10 after six weekends in theaters, also made its debut on Prime Video.

Things are going to pick up considerably next weekend when “Fast X” enters the summer box office race, followed by the live-action “The Little Mermaid” on May 26.

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr.

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‘Guardians Vol. 3’ and ‘Super Mario Bros.’ top box office again