“Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” Has Opening Record For Video Game Movies
The summer movie season is officially underway, with many films aiming to be the next big hit. While Marvel’s “Avengers Endgame” has earned its third consecutive weekend at #1 with a gross of $63.2 million; pushing its domestic total alone past $700 million; another film had a very strong second to capture a record of its own: “Pokémon Detective Pikachu.”
Opening on the weekend of May 10, the film grossed $54.4 million on its $150 million budget, handily trouncing much of its competition. Third place went to the con artist comedy “The Hustle” at $13 million, with holdovers including “The Intruder” at $7.2 million and “Long Shot” at $6.2 million. The remaining new releases were the comedy “Poms” at $5.2 million and the biopic “Tolkien” at $2.2 million.
In a single weekend, the film has managed to not only join the ranks of the highest grossing video game adaptations ever; but also make more in its opening weekend than many other ones have in their entire runs. The film has finally broken the long-standing record held by 2001’s “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.” As for films adapted from anime and manga series, the film has also outgrossed the entire runs of flops such as 2008’s “Speed Racer,” 2009’s “Dragonball Evolution” and the 2017 remake of “Ghost in the Shell.” It has also nearly doubled the 3-day opening weekend of this year’s “Alita: Battle Angel,” and has received relatively positive reviews from critics and audiences (64% Fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating as of this writing).
While the franchise has had success in film before (the first three anime movies made quite a bit of money despite being critically-reviled), the success of this installment has generated further talk of more adaptations being made in the near future. With nearly $170 million worldwide from its opening weekend alone, “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” has “volt tackled” a new opening record for video game movies. Whatever lies ahead for the franchise going forward (an all-CGI remake of “Mewtwo Strikes Back” is set for release in Japan this July), let’s hope that it’s a big enough hit to keep exploring this live-action world of Pokémon.
Story by Steven Pryor