Will any films be able to compete with the box office juggernaut that is Disney and Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame”?
That’s a question Warner Bros. and Legendary’s “Detective Pikachu” will attempt to answer this weekend as the studio’s live-action Pokemon adaptation takes on the mother of blockbusters at the domestic box office. Industry analysts are projecting a wide range between $56 million and $80 million when “Detective Pikachu” debuts in 4,200 North American theaters. Warner Bros. is more conservatively predicting a three-day haul closer to $50 million. But if the movie is able to reach the higher end of that range, it could give “Avengers: Endgame” a run for the No. 1 spot.
“Avengers: Endgame,” the culmination to the current phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has generated a massive $644.5 million in the States, making it the seventh-biggest domestic release ever after less than three weeks in theaters. The superhero behemoth is also the second-biggest movie of all time with $2.27 billion in ticket sales worldwide, pacing behind only James Cameron’s “Avatar” and its epic $2.78 billion bounty. “Avengers: Endgame” could collect around $67 million to 80 million in its third outing if the tentpole sees a similar decline to its predecessor, “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Bullish box office analysts believe Ryan Reynolds’ signature snark could bring some serious firepower to “Detective Pikachu.” Reynolds channels an albeit toned-down version of his wise-cracking “Deadpool” to voice the illustrious yellow Pokemon. “Detective Pikachu” centers on a teenager (Justice Smith) who, after getting word that his detective father has gone missing, teams up with his dad’s Pokemon partner to figure out what went wrong. Rob Letterman directed the film, based on the popular Pokemon series and the 2016 video game of the same name. “Detective Pikachu” is rated PG, making it the first in the Pokemon series without a G rating.
If “Detective Pikachu” becomes a hit, it’ll be the rare win for video-game to big-screen adaptations. As a whole, it’s a genre that’s filled with more misses than successes. (See: “Super Mario Bros., “Doom,” and more recently, Dwayne Johnson’s “Rampage.”) But barring a crowded marketplace, “Detective Pikachu” could break that curse. It’s one of the rare well-received adaptations, with a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes.
However, “Detective Pikachu” will need to rely on solid word of mouth to have a life beyond its opening weekend. Even without “Avengers: Endgame,” summer movie season is heating up, and it’s about to get even more competitive at local multiplexes. Over the course of May, “John Wick: Chapter 3,” “Aladdin,” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” will be vying for audience’s attention.
“Detective Pikachu” isn’t this weekend’s only wide release. STX and United Artists Releasing are taking advantage of Mother’s Day weekend with “Poms,” an uplifting comedy starring Diane Keaton, and “The Hustle,” a female-led remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Bedtime Stories.”
Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway star in “The Hustle,” a comedy about two women who plot revenge against men who wronged them. It is anticipating an opening between $9 million and $14 million from 2,750 locations.
“Poms” is attempting to capture a similar charm to Paramount’s “Book Club,” last summer’s romantic comedy centered on septuagenarians. This movie, also featuring Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Celia Weston and Rhea Perlman, follows a group of women in a retirement community who form a cheerleading squad. It’s expected to earn between $7 million and $10 million when it launches in 2,750 venues.