Detective Pikachu Shatters Records With Best Debut In Video Game Movie History

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Legendary Pictures

The first ever live-action Pokemon movie is finally upon us, and in a move that I honestly didn’t see coming, Detective Pikachu is not a bad way to spend an afternoon. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s really rather good. 

Detective Pikachu’s canny blend of live-action, genuinely funny moments, and adorable CGI Pokemon has proven to be a recipe for success, as the film has officially had the most successful opening weekend in the history of video game movies.

Legendary Pictures

Okay, so when you look at the other video game movies we’ve had in the past 20 years that isn’t saying much, but Detective Pikachu has done some impressive numbers whichever way you slice it.

Box Office Mojo reported that the Ryan Reynolds-fronted Pokemon caper has managed to pull in an impressive $58 million during its opening weekend in the US alone, beating out the previous record set by 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider ($47 million).

The report goes on to reveal that Pikachu and friends are already in the top ten highest-grossing video game movies in US history, and it’s only been out for one weekend. It’s now been predicted that the film will net at least $160 million domestically before leaving theaters, which would topple Lara Croft by around $30 million.

Factoring in the movie’s strong debut outside of the US, Detective Pikachu has already managed to make $170.4 million worldwide, which means it’s already made a profit from its $150 million budget. I smell the start of a franchise that will be milked until the last recorded syllable of time.

While there’s a chance the movie could suffer a sharp drop off by next week, I seriously doubt it. Pokemon is already a globally recognised franchised that has endured for generations, so the fact that Detective Pikachu isn’t a complete dumpster fire of a film means that it will inevitably go from strength to strength.

While I don’t see it battering Avengers: Endgame any time soon, the Pokemon flick did actually come remarkably close to knocking the latest Marvel juggernaut from the number one spot in the US weekend.

Endgame made another $63 million and was the number one film for the third week in a row, but it’s mighty impressive that Detective Pikachu only fell short of beating it by a few million. Who knows? Maybe by next week Pikachu will do what Thanos couldn’t, and finally topple Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. head of domestic distribution said:

What a terrific result. It’s so much fun to watch ‘Detective Pikachu’ have this kind of opening. It was fun to win Friday night, but as they say in golf, you play your own game and I’m thrilled with our result.

Legendary Pictures

As Detective Pikachu will likely kick off a new age of video game movies for Nintendo, the writers behind the Pokemon romp recently shared their ideas for a Super Smash Bros team up movie, which would be… well, I have no idea what that would be like, to be honest.

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Ewan Moore

Ewan Moore

Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn't gotten out of his mid 00's emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.