Box Office Wrap Up: Pikachu Sets High Score.

Box Office Wrap Up: Pikachu Sets High Score.

While Avengers stayed in first place, Detective Pikachu delivered the biggest premier ever for a video game adaptation.

The box office continues trucking along, with Warner Brothers’ Pokemon adaptation nearly unseating Marvel’s Avengers on the leader board.  Many of the new release films had strong weekends, though Tolkien and Poms had trouble cheering up much of an audience on Mother’s Day weekend.  With a highly anticipated debut for John Wick 3 on the schedule, it looks like the spring box office is in full bloom.

Box Office Wrap Up: Pikachu Sets High Score.
Turns out these were the flowers mom really wanted after all.

This Week in Box Office History.

Sales stayed strong over the holiday weekend, declining a modest 15% versus last weekend, while improving 21% compared with last year.  Endgame continues to outpace Infinity War, though there are some storm clouds on the horizon, as we’ll see below.  The tally of 163 million dollars from all movies further shrunk the gap between 2019 and 2018.  Before Endgame released, the year-to-date numbers were off 17%.  Thanks to the Marvel phenom, we’ve seen that gap close to within 8%.  There’s a lot of reason to be hopeful that the initially sluggish box office will stay hot, with prominent releases such as It Part 2 and Star Wars in the pipe for the end of the year.

Top Film Last Year:  Avengers Infinity War.

Box Office Wrap Up: Pikachu Sets High Score.
Thanos, next appearing in The California Raisins biopic.

Top Film Last Decade:  Star Trek.

Box Office Wrap Up: Pikachu Sets High Score.
You remember “Lens Flare, the Movie” right?

Top Three Films.

Box Office Wrap Up: Pikachu Sets High Score.
Time to grit your teeth and make it happen, Cap.

Avengers Endgame had the triple crown in hand, notching its third top finish in a row.  It added 63 million dollars domestically.  Listeners to our podcast know that our staff have reservations about Endgame’s ability to reach the top of the all-time list.  With 2.4 billion dollars in total earnings, it would take Thanos snapping half of all movie theaters out of existence for Endgame not to top Avatar’s 2.7 billion dollar global record.  The domestic all time is, in my opinion, practically impossible.

Endgame had declined just under 60% both weeks, which is a really steep drop for an all-time contender.  Avatar had weeks of single digit drops to put it past Titanic, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ping-ponged between week’s of 40% drops and 30% drops on its way to the top.  Endgame would need to make another 210 million dollars at home to pass The Force Awakens, which would require Marvel to find a way to stop the bleeding immediately.

Pokemon – Detective Pikachu premiered in second place, challenging the champ with 58 million dollars.  That total makes this pocket monster sleuth the all-time best debut for a video game adaptation, unseating Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider flick from 2001.  Critics and audiences had high marks for the film, which bodes well for Detective Pikachu becoming the very best video game film there never was.

United Artist’s con artist comedy, The Hustle, took third place with 13 million dollars.  It did fairly well with audiences, though critics hated it.  There’s no budget numbers available, but the premier was above UA’s projections.  Time will tell if poor review scores hurt The Hustle’s long-term prospects.

Box Office Wrap Up: Pikachu Sets High Score.
See, should have called it Nasty Women after all!

Other Films.

Poms, which on paper seemed the “take mom to the movies” front runner, had a weak opening.  It took in 5 million dollars domestically, landing in sixth place.  Once again, we don’t have budget figures, but comparing it to other “ladies of a certain age” comedies of recent years shows Poms to be particularly anemic.

Box Office Wrap Up: Pikachu Sets High Score.
One does not simply “decide to release wide” in Mordor!

Fox Searchlight opted to bring it’s J.R.R. Tolkien biopic out in wide release at the last moment, a move that may have been ill advised.  Tolkien, starring Nicholas Hoult at The Hobbit author, barely snuck into the ninth spot, and spent most of the weekend being projected to fall outside of the top ten.  It managed 2 million dollars in 1700 theaters, not a particularly epic beginning to its journey.

Top Ten Movies.

1.  Avengers – Endgame  (63.0)

2.  Pokemon Detective Pikachu  (58.0)

3.  The Hustle  (13.5)

4.  The Intruder  (6.6)

5.  Long Shot  (6.1)

6.  Poms  (5.1)

7.  Uglydolls  (3.9)

8.  Breakthrough  (2.4)

9.  Tolkien  (2.1)

10.  Captain Marvel  (1.8)

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