December 11, 2023

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day voice Mario and Luigi in Universal Pictures and Illumination’s “Super Mario Bros. Movie.”


Magic Kingdom is a fan of Mushroom Kingdom.

disney Chief Executive Bob Iger used some of his opening remarks on Wednesday’s earnings call to praise rival Universal Studios’ “Super Mario Bros. movie” and its success at the global box office.

“Let me digress for a moment and congratulate Universal on the huge success of ‘Super Mario Bros.,'” Iger said. “It certainly proves that people love to be entertained in theaters around the world, which gives us reason to be optimistic about the film industry.”

Universal did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Iger’s remarks.

The “Super Mario Bros. Movie” has grossed more than $1.1 billion worldwide since its release in early April, proving that family-friendly films, especially animated ones, can succeed post-pandemic.

Disney’s theatrical animated content has been lagging at the box office since the pandemic hit. Some analysts have blamed the lackluster ticket sales on confusion over streaming-only and wider theatrical releases of Disney movies. Others say Disney has done a poor job of marketing its animated films to the public.

“Lightyear,” the spinoff of the lucrative “Toy Story” franchise, grossed just over $200 million worldwide, while last fall’s “Oddworld” flopped less than $100 million worldwide.

Meanwhile, Universal’s hit the box office, with “Minions: Rising of Gru” approaching $940 million worldwide and “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” approaching $500 million worldwide.

The widespread success of the “Super Mario Bros. Movie” could pave the way for upcoming releases from Disney, including Pixar’s “Element” and “Wish,” which hit Thanksgiving. As parents and children lined up to get into theaters to watch Nintendo-based movies, they saw ads for other upcoming cartoons, including Disney’s slate.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.