Charizard about to eat Pikachu

The last couple of weeks at the box office have been all about Avengers: Endgame, as other studios gave the Disney juggernaut, which has now passed Titanic to become the second-biggest movie of all time, a wide berth both before and after its release. But now other contenders are coming for Thanos’ throne atop the box office, starting this weekend with a tiny, electric-type Pokémon that happens to sound a lot like Deadpool. So will Detective Pikachu be able to best Avengers: Endgame at the box office?

The short answer is probably not, but Detective Pikachu isn’t going to crash and burn like so many of its video game movie forbears either. According to Deadline, the Pokémon franchise’s first foray into live-action on the big screen is looking at a domestic opening weekend in the $50 million to $55 million range from over 4,200 theaters.

That should be good enough for second to Avengers: Endgame as the MCU’s history-making film continues its quest to topple Avatar. Endgame is tracking at making $75-$85 million in its third weekend in release, which will be enough to hold on to the top spot at the box office and withstand Pikachu’s thunder if the tracking proves accurate.

There’s no shame in taking second place to Avengers: Endgame. Pokémon is a global property and domestic audiences won’t be the only ones trying to catch ‘em all at the theater this weekend. Detective Pikachu is projected to make $90-$120 million overseas this weekend for a worldwide opening weekend of upwards of $160 million.

Of that overseas haul, $40-$60 million is expected to come from China, where Legendary Pictures’ parent company Wanda Group is based. That gives it a leg up and the film is receiving positive buzz, but it may not get an abundance of favorable showtimes from theaters due to it being treated like an animated movie.

The continued presence of Avengers: Endgame, which has naturally slowed but is still huge, makes it difficult to know just how well Detective Pikachu will do, but it does have some things going for it that could help it over-perform. In addition to the star power of Ryan Reynolds, Detective Pikachu is enjoying decent, but not glowing, reviews and currently sits at 68% on Rotten Tomatoes.

That’s better than most video game movies and Detective Pikachu also has the benefit of a large and resurgent fanbase thanks to the popularity of the Pokémon Go mobile game. These factors have some thinking that this movie could be a surprise at the box office.

Back in March, the long-range tracking on this $150 million film had it landing in the $75-$90 million range. So a $50-$55 million domestic opening weekend would be considerably less than that, but personally I feel like Detective Pikachu is being underestimated and could land closer to those earlier predictions, making it another example of the difficulty of box office prognosticating.

It may not make enough to topple Endgame; that may be a job for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum or Aladdin. But either way Detective Pikachu is looking at a solid start to a likely franchise.

Detective Pikachu opens in theaters this weekend. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the big movies headed your way this summer.

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