Just four weeks after it opened in theaters, the film “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” exceeded $1 billion in global box office receipts on Sunday, becoming the first film of 2023 to cross the coveted threshold, Variety reported.
By Sunday, the movie, an adaptation of the Nintendo video game, had hauled in $490 million in North America and another $532 million internationally, making it only the fifth movie since the pandemic to cross the $1 billion mark. The other four films to surpass that coveted threshold were “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Jurassic World Domination,” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
But the weekend wasn’t all good news for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”
Just as the film was about to reach $1 billion at the box office, millions of Twitter users had the chance to watch it for free after it was illegally streamed on the platform over the weekend.
Fortune reported on Monday that a pirated copy of the 92-minute movie appeared on Twitter Friday afternoon and remained available until Sunday when the social media platform took it down. In that time, the pirated stream of the film had been viewed at least 9.3 million times, according to screenshots published by The Verge.
The accounts that posted the pirated film were suspended for violating Twitter’s terms of service.
In addition to “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” a pirated stream of “Avatar: The Way of Water” was also posted on Twitter. However, it is not clear how many viewers were able to watch the 3-hour film before it too was taken down.
According to Fortune, for those pirating films, streaming is becoming a more popular option than traditional downloading sites like Pirate Bay. It is estimated that piracy costs the entertainment industry $71 billion a year globally.
In recent years, piracy has exploded. Just ten years ago, the Motion Picture Association averaged about 24 anti-piracy cases a year. However, now, it averages about that many in a single week, Fortune reported.