This weekend one film finally had a chance to overtake Avengers: Endgame as the monstrous hit which Marvel spent a decade making finally slowed down at home and abroad. Detective Pikachu came very close to unseating the reigning box office champion, but its $58 million opening was just short of the incumbent film’s $63 million third frame take. Nonetheless, Warner Bros. still scored a strong start for their quirky Ryan Reynolds-led Pokemon caper, and it did beat Endgame on the overseas chart by a fine yellow hair, earning $103 million to Endgame’s $102.3 million. An extensive digital marketing campaign that included a fake leak of the film by Mr. Reynolds managed to lure enough kids and young adults away from Marvel’s camp to give Warner’s latest release a healthy start. The movie is about a young man who teams up with a talking yellow monster named Pikachu to find his long-missing father. Reynolds plays Pikachu while Justice Smith plays the young man, and the cast is rounded out by Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Ken Watanabe, and Bill Nighy. Reviews were mixed but the audience was receptive. It got an overall A- Cinamascore and a full A with viewers under 25.
Overseas, where Pikachu pulled off its impressive upset, the biggest market was China where it finished first and made $40.8 million. It held the same position in the UK picking up $6.6 million and grabbed $5 million in second place in Germany. Other notable markets were Mexico at $4.9 million, France on $4.8 million and Australia on $3.5 million. In its spiritual home market of Japan, where the Pokemon franchise was born, and where foreign film sales are nearly impossible to predict, it earned just $3 million. Detective Pikachuwill have to move quickly and take whatever it can in the next two weeks before Disney’s Aladdin sweeps in on May 24 and takes much of its young audience for a magic carpet ride.
Going back to the number one film in the US, and now the number two film of all time worldwide, Avengers: Endgame took $165.3 million in all markets in a slow weekend by its own impossible standards. The US take of $63 million showed a 57% drop from the last frame, while its international share of $102.3 million represented a slower fall at 46%. After pushing past Titanic last weekend, it ended this frame at $2.48 billion. By now nearly every fan of the series and a massive amount of casual theatergoers will have seen the film. At this point, Endgame may need just a fraction of the intense repeat viewing that kept Titanic in the top ten for six months if it wants to surpass James Cameron’s other blockbuster of blockbusters, Avatar and its $2.78 billion all-time global sales record.
Also opening on the US market, United Artist’s con-girl comedy The Hustle started in third place with $13 million. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as an odd couple of grifters going after marks on the French Riviera. There was also Poms, from STX entertainment, a movie about geriatric cheerleaders bringing some life into their retirement community, starring Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, and Rhea Perlman. It took fifth with $5.1 million dollars.
Next frame we’ll see how close Endgame gets to its holy grail, and if John Wick 3: Parabellum will be able to kill fellow newcomer A Dog’s Journey (the sequel to 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose) in its kennel.