Thanos Holds Off Pikachu At the Box Office

It was close race for first place this weekend at the North America box office as Warner’s Pokemon: Detective Pikachu came close to dislodging Avengers: Endgame from the top spot. United Artists’ The Hustle provided some mild counterprogramming for the Mother’s Day holiday while STX’s Poms and Disney/Fox’s Tolkien bombed right out of the gate.

Detective Pikachu’s arrival helped push the top ten films up 29% over last year at this time when Infinity War led the box office for a third straight week with $62 million.

In its third weekend, Avengers: Endgame eased 57% on 4,662 screens to earn an estimated $63 million. The new domestic total for the superhero smashup is $723.5 million. Internationally, Thanos added $102 million this weekend, pushing the film’s foreign take up to $1.76 billion.

This weekend’s domestic numbers rank fourth among the all-time best third weekends. Only Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($90.2 million), Avatar ($68.2 million) and Black Panther ($66.3 million) earned more in their third outings. This past week, Endgame passed Jurassic World, Titanic, Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther to move into the number three spot among all-time domestic earners list (pre-inflation).

With $2.485 billion in global sales, the Disney/Marvel blockbuster now faces its final contender on the box office charts:Avatar. In North America, the gap between Endgame and James Cameron’s 2009 fantasy epic is a mere $37 million. Overseas, the divide is a little higher at $265 million. Endgame will unseat Avatar domestically within the next week while internationally, the film should push Pandora down to second place by the start of June.

With Endgame’s multiplex madness beginning to quiet down, rival studios have started once again to release the big theatrical offerings. One of those films is Warner’s family comedy Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, which debuted this weekend to a solid $58 million from 4,202 theaters. The opening for the PG-rated Detective Pikachu is the biggest ever for a film based on a videogame.

The $150 million live-action/animated Pikachu –starring Justice Smith and featuring the voice of Ryan Reynolds as the title character- scored okay notices from critics. Pikachu earned a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 52/100 on Metacritic. The general public was more receptive to the film, giving it an “A-” on CinemaScore. That grade, as well as a second-day business drop of less than one percent, are good signs that the film’s appeal is reaching beyond the Pokemon fan base.

Internationally this weekend, Detective Pikachu collected $103 million. Opening on more than 20,000 screens for a $40 million haul, China was by far the biggest foreign market for Pikachu. The Middle Kingdom was followed by Japan’s $13 million, $6 million from the United Kingdom and $5 million each from Mexico and Germany.

Landing in third place with a moderate $13.5 million from 3,007 screens was the United Artists comedy The Hustle. The press eviscerated the gender-reversed remake of the 1988 Steve Martin/Michael Caine comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. They gave the long delayed Anne Hathaway/Rebel Wilson comedy an awful 16% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 36/100 on Metacritic. Ticket buyers weren’t all that thrilled, either. They gave The Hustle a “B-” on CinemaScore.

Screen Gems’ low-budget thriller The Intruder had a decent second weekend, landing in fourth place with an estimated $6.6 million from 2,222 theaters. Down only 39%, the Dennis Quaid flick has brought in $21 million after ten days and could finish with a tidy $40 million, a healthy return for Sony on its $8 million production investment.

Rounding out the top five was Lionsgate’s Long Shot, which also held well in its sophomore session. The Seth Rogen/Charlize Theron comedy only dipped 37% from one week ago to earn an estimated $6.1 million from 3,230 theaters. The ten-day total for Long Shot stands at $19.7 million with a final between $35-40 million a possibility.

6.  Poms (STX) $5.1 million

Give me an “F!” Give me an “L!” Give me an “O!” Give me a “P!”What’s that spell? That’s right: the second bomb in a row for STX Films following last week’s Uglydolls.

Speaking of which…

7.  Uglydolls (STX) $3.92 million (-54%); $14.2 million

8.  Breakthrough (Fox) $2.5 million (-37%); $37.1 million

9.  Tolkien (Fox Searchlight) $2.1 million

Weak marketing and mixed-to-negative reviews helped sink this biopic of Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien right out of the gate. Opening the film in wide release as opposed to platforming the Nicholas Hoult drama probably didn’t help matters much.

10.  Captain Marvel (Disney/Marvel) $1.8 million (-58%); $423 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of John Wick: Chapter Three – Parabellum and A Dog’s Journey. Watch for Mr. Wick to finally nab himself a number one opening next weekend.

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