It’s been over 16 years since Pokémon had a film released theatrically. The last feature, Pokémon Heroes, bombed so hard at the box office that all movies based on the series have since been released on TV and Home Video, save for the occasional film having a fandom-special screening. However, after several years, Pokémon is back in theaters with a movie based on the relatively lesser known spin-off game of the same name, Detective Pikachu.
The film, which stars Ryan Reynolds as the titular character, has a talking Pikachu aiding Tim Goodwin (Justice Smith) in finding his father, who was also Pikachu’s partner. The film takes Tim and Pikachu through a series of misadventures that eventually has the duo teaming up with wannabe reporter Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) and her Psyduck to uncover a mystery that goes beyond the team’s simple search for Tim’s dad. Despite having the misfortune of being a film based on a video game, Detective Pikachu managed to please and surprise both critics and audiences by being a legit good movie.
As of this writing, Detective Pikachu is currently the highest rated movie based on a video game, with it sitting at 63% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 202 reviews from critics, rated “fresh” on the “Tomatometer”. That’s a feat that no other theatrical film based on a video game has done. Not only did this positive reception give hope for future video game movies, but it also won over audiences by becoming the highest grossing video game film in its opening weekend. According to Box Office Mojo, Detective Pikachu managed to bring in an estimate of $58 million at the US box office, eclipsing the original record holder, 2001’s Lara Croft Tomb Raider, which opened to $47.7 million. It also managed to surpass Pokémon: The First Movie, which earned over $31 million in its opening weekend, released in the US back in 1999.
While it wasn’t enough to outdo Avengers: Endgame, which managed to remain #1 for a third week, earning an estimated $63 million in the US, Detective Pikachu managed to take the second place spot safely. Meanwhile, the film managed to snag a solid $103 million at the international box office. Box Office Mojo also predicts that the film could end with a “domestic run anywhere from $145-165 million.”
Detective Pikachu was released on May 10th, 2019, with a sequel currently in development.