Detective Pikachu can’t quite catch ‘em all, The Hustle runs a short con, Poms fails to conjure up enough pep, nobody has Tolkien’s axe, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
OK, fine. I am a big enough man to admit when I am wrong, which is most times over most things, so I will cop to having maybe overstated the potential impact of one Pokémon: Detective Pikachu on the pop culture and Box Office landscapes. All those weeks talking it up as a possible Endgame killer, how we were going to have to invent new forms of currency measurement in order to count the amount of money it would bring in, how it was going to force the rest of the Summer’s releases to bend the knee… then it goes and opens in second place with $58 million behind the third weekend of Endgame. Still, that’s not a dreadful opening. In fact, it’s pretty darn solid all things considered, easily the biggest opening weekend for a videogame adaptation ever (besting the $47.7 million brought in by Lara Croft: Tomb Raider back in the ancient days of 2001), and overseas it’s making a killing with $103 million in international gross from this past weekend and $41 million from China alone. But it’s not an out-the-box giant murderer, so I still look the fool. In fairness, literally everyone I know is varying degrees of into Pokémon which makes me feel like the social freak for not caring; I had every right to believe this would be insanely massive!
Or perhaps Detective Pikachu was less the victim of unrealistic expectations and more of an absolutely swamped weekend for new release movies. No less than four of the buggers decided to get out ahead of John Wick next weekend and the Aladdin remake a fortnight later with only Pikachu managing to hold its own in the melee. In fact, not one but two separate terrible female-centric comedies attempted to take advantage of Mother’s Day weekend to goose ticket sales and limited shelf lives; Chris Addison’s gender-flipped Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake The Hustle going up against STX’s unofficial American remake of Finding Your Feet but with old people dancing switched out for old people cheerleading, Poms. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the one of those two you’d actually heard of coming into this article won, definitively, as The Hustle grifted its way into third with $13.5 million whilst Poms tore its hymen doing the splits and crashed into sixth with $5.1 million. But, hey, Poms can at least take solace in not being Tolkien, a movie I honestly don’t know who exactly was asking for (same deal with Goodbye Christopher Robin from 2017). And there, at least, my read of the situation was dead-on as Disney-Fox bumped it up from Limited to Wide Release at the last minute to complete indifference: ninth place with $2.1 million and that includes grosses taken from special event-screening previews earlier in the week.
In Limited Release, the big story of the weekend was our first majorly successful documentary of the year, John Chester’s The Biggest Little Farm which chronicles him and his wife’s efforts to turn 200 acres of Los Angeles fields into a sustainable and diverse farm. A premise so wholesome and hopeful I’d honestly feel like quite the prick for making a joke about it, audiences helped cultivate an extremely healthy $101,012 from 5 theatres (for a per-theatre average of $20,202). Next best from those was the re-release of Kenneth Branagh’s miserably dull Shakespeare biopic All is True which technically released back in December for a failed awards qualifying run but I guess we’re supposed to forget about all that. Anyways, $46,809 from 4 theatres for a PTA of $11,702. The Year of Manson Films continued on in with Charlie Says, this one starring Matt Smith as the infamous cult leader and likely not containing a single second of Prodigy music, which was easily the worst Limited performer of the weekend with $39,114 from 39 theatres (a PTA of just $1,003). Finally, Zhang Yimou’s Shadow, which had a pretty decent start last weekend, expanded to 47 theatres and immediately saw its fortunes sliced and diced with a weekend taking of $135,400 (a PTA of $2,881).
Full List, I choose you!
US Box Office Results: Friday 10th May 2019 – Sunday 12th May 2019
$63,054,000 / $723,499,739
Just $300 million away from Avatar’s all-time #1, at time of writing! Surely that’s doable! Surely the first actually great film to ever cross the $2 billion mark can dethrone Avatar and give us something new to look at in that spot! Christ, if Detective Pikachu couldn’t put a significant dent in this thing, then surely it can bank another $300 mil worldwide before Aladdin slops out! I am fairly certain kids aren’t being taken to John Wick next week. Fairly certain. 40% certain.
2] Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
$58,000,000 / NEW
Tawny Farber has deemed this “surprisingly good” which excites me because “surprisingly good” is exactly what my reaction to all of the marketing was and I like it when marketing doesn’t lie to me. You can go read her review in the meantime and I’ll have thoughts next week when I’ve seen it! Would’ve gone on Friday but I was preoccupied with something you’ll be able to read here later this week. That’s how SEO teasing works, right?
3] The Hustle
$13,536,298 / NEW
…shit, how long has it actually been since I went and saw a cinema film? I think it was Endgame? That’s not good. Need to fix this dereliction of duty over the week. How am I supposed to make pithy witless comments dismissing subpar movies if I haven’t subjected myself to them?
4] The Intruder
$6,600,000 / $20,975,126
Callumstradamus strikes again as, contrary to my observation last week that films like The Intruder are front-loaded and rarely stick around for long, this has dropped a mere 40% between weekends. I guess “filmed pantos with higher risk of murder” is a market with greater untapped potential than expected.
5] Long Shot
$6,125,000 / $19,736,935
This also had an extremely strong sophomore hold, dropping a chart-best 37% from its start, but its start was also absolute pants so sadly doesn’t mean much. In other news, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder’s rom-com Destination Wedding finally got a UK release this past weekend, although Tawny didn’t find that fact much to celebrate unfortunately.
$5,110,000 / NEW
Who cares about this? Lisa Hanawalt’s Netflix series Tuca & Bertie is spectacular and you should go watch that instead! Well, you should read my spoiler-free review of it first and then go watch it! Or vice versa! You’re an autonomous human being, I assume!
$3,920,000 / $14,272,796
Public Service Announcement: Lizzo’s outstanding Cuz I Love You is available on CD from Friday, but it has also been streaming for something like the last month and you should listen to it right now multiple times. It kills! Related Public Service Announcement: this movie boasts Lizzo, Charli XCX, and Janelle Monáe on its voice cast and yet, according to the soundtrack, all three barely sing in the movie itself. This is a TRAVESTY! An OUTRAGE! A CRIME, I TELLS YOU! RECOMPENCE MUST BE SERVICED!
$3,920,000 / $37,106,806
I feel like a more talented/hackier writer than myself would have been able to figure out a good The Doors pun for this movie by now.
$2,153,000 / NEW
Quoth my Month in Movies for May, this is “certainly a film which exists.”
10] Captain Marvel
$1,813,000 / $423,777,029
You look like you’re having a bad day. Here’s a clip of Brie Larson covering Kacey Musgraves to cheer you up in the way that only legends respecting legends can.
Dropped out: The Curse of La Llorona, Shazam!, Little, Dumbo
Callie Petch looked up in the mirror like, damn, they the one!