The Super Mario Bros. movie breaks a box office record – as Twitter pirates it

Mario and Peach talk as they walk in The Super Mario Bros. Movie
(Image credit: Universal Pictures/Nintendo)

The Super Mario Bros. movie is in the headlines this weekend, for reasons both good and bad. 

Firstly, the film adaptation managed the astonishing achievement of breaking $1 billion across the global box office, becoming the first film of 2023 to do so. And it earned that haul in only the first month of being in theaters – annihilating films such as the D&D movie, Renfield, and sports drama Air with a strong dose of video game nostalgia in the mushroom kingdom that few could reasonably compete with. 

That puts the animated plumber movie in the same leagues as last year’s Top Gun and Avatar sequels, which shows just how ready Nintendo is for the cinematic big leagues – and makes the live-action 1993 Super Mario Bros. film feel like a pleasantly distant memory (John Leguizamo, you deserved better).

We’re not surprised to see the movie doing so well – Mario is a very familiar face, with numerous generations of gamer parents and gamer kids helping to propel this family-friendly flick to Bowser-like proportions. In our Super Mario Bros. movie review, we called it “a highly enjoyable, nostalgia-fueled family-friendly film stuffed with visually arresting imagery, slapstick gags, countless secrets, and a rich thematic heart.” Inspired casting, from Charlie Day as Luigi to Jack Black as Bowser, certainly will have helped.

Somewhere, a Wario-style Nintendo executive is twiddling his greedy little mustache in glee. But the Mario movie also has the curious honor of being this week’s most-watched movie… on Twitter.

That’s right. A handful of Twitter users uploaded the Super Mario Bros. movie onto the social media platform, spending much of the weekend there before anyone at the company seems to have noticed.

At the time of writing, the videos seem to have been pulled, though not before almost 10 million other users got a chance to see it (thanks, The Verge).

Since December 2022, Twitter Blue subscribers have been able to upload videos up to 60 minutes in length, at 1080p Full HD quality, making Twitter a surprisingly not-horrible place to watch a film, we guess – though we really would recommend a trip to the cinema for this one, if not a night in with one of the best TVs.

Mushrooms for all! 

The brief stint on Twitter is unlikely to have affected Nintendo’s bottom line – this is already a billion dollar movie, after all, with weeks left in theaters and a long future ahead on home streaming platforms. 

More than anything, it’s a sign of the chaos of Twitter’s skeleton crew, with moderation teams particularly hit by Elon Musk’s restructuring, and much more of a free-for-all approach to user engagement, especially users paying for their blue tick.

Many of those 10 million views will likely have been cursory glances, too, so we imagine the actual number of people sitting down with popcorn on is significantly fewer than that. Let’s hope Twitter’s in slightly better order by the time all those Mario movie sequels start coming out.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.