LOS ANGELES (REUTERS/VARIETY.COM) - Disney and Marvel's Avengers: Endgame remained victorious at the North American box office, collecting US$65 million (S$88 million) during its third weekend in theatres.
Avengers: Endgame officially passed Avengers: Infinity War (US$679 million) and Black Panther (US$700 million) to become the third-highest grossing movie of all time at the domestic box office with US$724 million in ticket sales. It is still the second-biggest film ever globally with US$2.48 billion, pacing behind just Avatar with US$2.78 billion.
However, Endgame's third straight box office success did not come without a little competition. Warner Bros and Legendary's Detective Pikachu gave Earth's Mightiest Heroes a run for their money. The studio's live-action Pokemon adaptation pulled in a solid US$58 million when it launched in 4,202 venues.
"I'm giddy," Warner Bros head of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein, said on a call on Sunday morning. "This is a big weekend for Detective Pikachu."
Goldstein has reason for the good cheer. The impressive start for Detective Pikachu signals a rare win for video-game to big-screen adaptations. As a whole, it is a genre that is filled with few hits. Super Mario Bros and Doom are two of the more high-profile misfires, but even recent titles like Alicia Vikander's Tomb Raider remake and Dwayne Johnson's Rampage were not popular among video game enthusiasts.
"It worked because of the lighthearted nature of the film," Goldstein said. "You don't need to be a Pokemon fan to see the movie."
But as competition from summer blockbuster season heats up, Detective Pikachu will need to rely on solid word of mouth to remain a draw among moviegoers. The studio is also expecting Detective Pikachu to resonate overseas, where the electric yellow creature is a fan favourite. It is certainly off to a good start, amassing US$103 million from 62 international territories for a global weekend of US$161 million. It had the biggest bow in China (US$40 million), followed by Britain (US$6.6 million).
Audiences seem high on Ryan Reynolds' snarky take on the eponymous sleuthing Pokemon, awarding the film an A- CinemaScore. Critical reviews were mixed, averaging a 64 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. Directed by Rob Letterman, Detective Pikachu is based on the popular Pokemon series and the 2016 video game of the same name. Justice Smith stars alongside an adorable animated Pikachu (Reynolds) as the two team up to find out why the boy's dad went missing.
Not all new releases were as fortunate. Poms, an uplifting comedy from STX and eOne, debuted with a paltry US$5.1 million from 2,750 theatres. Diane Keaton stars in the film about a group of seniors who form a cheerleading squad. The movie played to an older female audience, with women representing 75 per cent of opening weekend crowds, while 85 per cent were over the age of 25.
Reviews were not kind. It carries a 29 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as a B+ CinemaScore.
It has been a rough month for STX as its animated adventure Uglydolls failed to pick up steam in its second weekend of release. The US$45 million movie generated US$4 million for a dreadful domestic haul of US$14.28 million.
Terrible reviews did not hold back all of this weekend's newcomers. Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway's The Hustle launched on the higher end of expectations with US$13.5 million from 3,007 screens. The comedy, a female-led remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Bedtime Stories has a 16 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. Females accounted for 70 per cent of moviegoers, with 69 per cent under 35.
A number of holdovers rounded out box office charts. Sony and Screen Gems' The Intruder secured the No. 4 spot with US$6.6 million, bringing its North American bounty to US$20.9 million.
Lionsgate's Long Shot, a romantic comedy with Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron, nabbed fifth place, adding US$6.1 million this weekend for a domestic tally of US$19.7 million. Both films had solid holds, dropping roughly 37 per cent from opening weekend receipts.
Fox Searchlight's Tolkien, a biographical drama about The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien, debuted in ninth place with US$2 million from 1,495 locations. The film, starring Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins, marks the first Fox Searchlight title to be distributed by Disney since the studio purchased Fox's film assets for US$71.3 billion.
At the indie box office, Neon's The Biggest Little Farm earned US$101,000 from five locations, averaging out to US$20,000 per venue. The documentary follows a couple working to develop a sustainable farm near Los Angeles.
Even with the unprecedented run of Avengers: Endgame the box office is still pacing over 9 per cent behind last year, according to Comscore. Popcorn season, which sees the release of a number of blockbuster-hopefuls including Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Aladdin and The Secret Life of Pets 2, should continue to close that gap.