The dreaded video game movie curse: a guarantee since the genre’s inception with 1993’s Super Mario Bros. that video game movies are generally terrible. That curse has persisted for basically every video game movie since 1993 until earlier this year, when many argued that Detective Pikachu became the first good video game movie. Whether you believe that or not, what isn’t up for debate is that Detective Pikachu is now the highest-grossing video game movie ever.
Although Detective Pikachu has left domestic theaters, it has still been adding to its total in foreign territories. Over this past weekend, the five remaining markets where the film is still playing, Norway, New Zealand, Slovenia, Portugal and Columbia, added $6,994 to its total, according to Box Office Mojo. With that $6,994, Detective Pikachu has now passed $436 million worldwide.
With $436 million, Detective Pikachu is now also the highest-grossing video game movie of all time with a couple million to spare. Detective Pikachu claims the crown from the previous highest-grossing video game movie, Duncan Jones’ 2016 film Warcraft.
It might be surprising to hear that Warcraft owned the top spot given the thud it landed with domestically, but it did well for itself overseas, especially in China. Warcraft finished its run with $47.3 million domestic and $433.6 million worldwide. Pikachu has only beat out Warcraft by a relatively small margin, and with it winding down its run it won’t make much more, but it stands alone all the same.
Detective Pikachu has also beat out last year’s Rampage, which got a huge boost from its star Dwayne Johnson and performed much better than the actor's previous video game movie effort Doom. But Rampage finished out with $428 million and now sees its silver medal demoted to bronze.
In addition to its financial success, Detective Pikachu is also the best critically reviewed film in the video game movie genre. That’s not exactly the highest distinction, but Detective Pikachu finished with a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, surpassing the 52% that Rampage and the Tomb Raider reboot managed.
Given this critical and commercial success, it is no wonder that it seems like Legendary might be moving forward with a sequel to Detective Pikachu. So is the video game movie curse broken? It’s far too early to say. While respectable, $436 million isn’t quite what the bigger blockbusters do, but it is encouraging that the most recent video game movie is also the most successful by these quantitative metrics.
We’ll have to wait to see what the future holds for Pikachu and the other Pokémon on the big screen, but Hollywood’s attempts to make video game movies work aren’t slowing down anytime soon. There are a variety of titles in some stage of development, from Tomb Raider 2, Sonic the Hedgehog and Monster Hunter, to Uncharted, Mortal Kombat and a new Super Mario Bros. These films could all go either way as far as I’m concerned, but if they are to be successful, Detective Pikachu now owns the crown they’ll all be gunning for.
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