Since the 1990s, the joke has been that video game movies are destined to be bad. Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Bros., Prince of Persia: Sands of Time—almost always are they met with terrible reviews and an outcry from video game fans.
But Pokémon Detective Pikachu has proved that, at the very least, those movies can be profitable.
After pulling in another $300,000 domestically and about $30,000 overseas from Netherlands, Romania and Norway this past week, Detective Pikachu has pushed its lifetime earnings to $429.5 million. That’s just $4.2 million behind the top-grossing video game movie ever, Warcraft.
However, it’ll be a miracle for Detective Pikachu to actually pull off the feat of topping Warcraft. While Detective Pikachu enjoyed a healthy domestic run with $143.5 million in domestic earnings, it doesn’t have the foreign legs Warcraft had, as the latter film made $386.3 million overseas compared to Pikachu’s $286 million.
And with Pikachu’s run topping off around 10 weeks in foreign markets, it just doesn’t have the lasting power that Warcraft carried through its 22-week run. So if Detective Pikachu is to pull this off, it’ll have to be in the States.
Which, again, is unlikely. Ever since its $54.4 million opening weekend, Detective Pikachu’s weekly earnings have dropped at an average of 50% each weekend. On June 14, its theater count dropped 1,177 to just 984 theaters. And just last weekend, it had dropped all the way down to 247 theaters.
Still, despite completing its 10th week in theaters, the per-theater average has remained high (between $1,600 and $2,300), which has fueled its surprising continued success. It wasn’t until Detective Pikachu’s seventh week in theaters that it dipped below the $2 million mark. And this past week showed that it still has legs in the 207 theaters it’s showing.
But with some healthy competition from The Lion King going after a similar demographic this upcoming weekend, it is likely Detective Pikachu’s run has met its end. While $4.2 million doesn’t seem like a lot to catch Warcraft, the Pokémon film hasn’t even made half that much over the past three weeks. It will likely have to settle for the silver medal in one of cinema’s most dubious categories.