Box Office: Super Mario Bros. Movie to Rule Over Evil Dead Rise and Guy Ritchies the Covenant

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” will rule again in its third weekend at the box office. In maintaining the No. 1 spot in North America, the family film is expected to take down two newcomers, the supernatural horror sequel “Evil Dead Rise” and action-war thriller “Guy Ritchie’s the Covenant,” as well as A24’s mind-bender “Beau Is Afraid,” which is expanding nationwide.

Universal and Illumination’s animated “Mario” adventure has grossed $366.3 million domestically to date. In the next few days, it will surpass “Minions: The Rise of Gru” ($369 million) as the highest-grossing animated film of the pandemic era. With $724 million globally, it already stands as the biggest movie of the year so far. Now in its third outing at the domestic box office, “Mario” is looking to bring in roughly $45 to $50 million, a massive result at this point in its theatrical run.

In terms of new releases, the blood-soaked “Evil Dead Rise” is projected to lead the way with $15 million to $20 million from 3,300 North American theaters, with some estimating those ticket sales could rise to $25 million or more. Elsewhere, the R-rated “Guy Ritchie’s the Covenant” is hoping to make $6 million from 2,611 locations, while the very R-rated “Beau Is Afraid” is similarly targeting single digits from 962 theaters.

“Evil Dead Rise” is the fifth installment in Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Evil Dead” film series, which began in 1981 with Sam Raimi’s low-budget thriller. It’s the first entry in the series in 10 years, since 2013’s “Evil Dead” reboot, which grossed $97.5 million on its $17 million budget.

Like “House Party” and “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” before it, the movie was originally set to release on HBO Max but was granted a traditional theatrical release by Warner Bros. It cost $15 million.

“Evil Dead Rise” has been well received by critics and holds a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. In Variety’s review, critic Joe Leydon described director Lee Cronin’s take as “imaginatively scary” and highlighted the film’s special effects as “claustrophobic” and “gasp-inducingly shocking.” The gory story centers on two estranged sisters as they attempt to survive and save their family from demonic creatures.

Ritchie’s latest has also received positive reviews, though it may be a harder sell to moviegoers because adult dramas have been hit-or-miss at the box office. That’s to say nothing of a two-hour depiction of the war in Afghanistan. Jake Gyllenhaal stars in “The Covenant” as a U.S. Army Sergeant who tries to repay his debt to a man who saved his life.

Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman was effusive in his praise, calling Ritchie “one of the best directors working” and “a born-again filmmaker.”

“‘The Covenant’ isn’t another Ritchie underworld caper,” he wrote, referring to the filmmakers range of action-thrillers like “The Gentleman,” “Wrath of Man” or “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre.” But “The Covenant,” Gleiberman says, “unveils something new: Ritchie the contempo classicist.”

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