At the height of his fame in the early 1990s, Nintendo’s iconic Super Mario was, according to one widely cited survey, more recognizable to U.S. children than Mickey Mouse.

Three decades later, the plumber has toppled the rodent once again.

"The Super Mario Bros. Movie," which hit theaters last week, has not only had the best opening weekend of any film in the U.S. this year, but the biggest opening for an animated motion picture ever, topping even Walt Disney Co.’s biggest hits. The film earned $376 million in just five days, even before debuting in its native Japan later this month. A total box office of more than $1 billion seems likely, which would catapult it into one of the top 50 highest-grossing movies of all time.