Audiences said “I choose you, ‘Detective Pikachu'” at the box office on Thursday, with the live-action Pokemon movie earning $5.7 million in its Thursday previews.
Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros.’ “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,” which expands to 4,202 screens this weekend, hopes to squeak by “Avengers: Endgame” for the No. 1 spot at the box office as Marvel’s epic enters into its third weekend off an already historic box office run. Independent trackers are split as to what to expect for “Detective Pikachu,” with projections going anywhere from the $50 million range to as high as $70 million. “Detective Pikachu” also opens against “The Hustle” and “Poms” in wide release.
For comparison, Warner Bros. and DC’s similarly comedic “Shazam!” made $5.9 million during its Thursday previews and went on to gross $53.5 million in its opening weekend.
“Detective Pikachu” stars Ryan Reynolds as the voice of the iconic Pokemon character Pikachu as he teams up with a young man (Justice Smith) as they try to uncover a mystery about the disappearance of his father while exploring a world where Pokemon and humans live side by side. Rob Letterman directs the film that also stars Kathryn Newton and Bill Nighy and is inspired by both the Pokemon video games and cartoons and also specifically the “Detective Pikachu” game.
“The Hustle,” from United Artists and MGM, is a gender-flipped remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson as two scorned women who scheme to con the men who wronged them. The film scored $774,000 in its Thursday previews, and it opens on 3,007 screens in North America this weekend. It’s projected between $9-12 million, with some trackers saying it could go as high as $14-15 million for its opening.
“Poms,” from STX Entertainment and financed by eOne, stars Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Celia Weston and Rhea Perlman in a comedy about a group of women who form a cheerleading squad at their retirement community. The film made $225,000 during Thursday night previews from approximately 2,000 screens. It opens on 2,750 screens this weekend, and it is projected for a $7-10 million opening as it tries to target older audiences over Mother’s Day weekend.
Finally opening in limited release are Kenneth Branagh’s “All Is True” from Sony Pictures Classics, “Tolkien,” a biopic about “The Lord of the Rings” author from Fox Searchlight and produced by Chernin Entertainment, and the documentary “The Biggest Little Farm” from Neon.