The Super Mario Bros. Movie is bumping up its release date. The animated adventure will now open on April 5th in over 60 markets (it was previously slated for April 7th). Giving the movie a five-day opening over Easter weekend is an old Hollywood trick that could help pad its initial earnings and lead to marketing-friendly headlines touting its early success.
The film stars the voices of Chris Pratt as Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Chris Day as Luigi, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong and Jack Black as Bowser. It was initially scheduled to release in December, but Illumination and Nintendo announced early last year they were pushing it back to this April. Throughout April and May, the movie will release in ten additional Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European markets; Japan’s release is timed to coincide with the Golden Week Holidays on April 28th.
The movie will mark Mario’s first big-screen starring role since 1993's ill-fated Super Mario Bros., starring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi, which bombed at the box office but became something of a “so bad it’s good” cult classic in later years. Before that, children of the late 80s and early 90s enjoyed The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, a live-action / animated series starring Captain Lou Albano and Danny Wells.
The upcoming Mario film could be a barometer for audiences’ appetites for video game movies. Hollywood adaptations of gaming IPs have a long track record of (rightfully) bombing with box offices and critics. Still, HBO’s excellent The Last of Us series has been a notable exception that Nintendo and Illumination would love to continue on the big screen.