Detective Pikachu is projected to do very well at the box office, and may top Aquaman's opening weekend. This summer, the iconic Pokémon franchise finally makes the leap to live-action movies with an entertaining spin on film noir that pairs the fast-talking titular sleuth with human partner Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) as the two work together to solve the case of Tim's missing father. Warner Bros. has already done an excellent job building up massive amounts of hype for the project, with several trailers and TV spots teasing heart, humor, and some bizarre live-action interpretations of classic Pokémon.
Obviously, Detective Pikachu was never conceived to be a one-off novelty act, and the studio has some big plans on the horizon. They're already developing a direct sequel and there's talk Detective Pikachu could spawn an entire Pokémon shared cinematic universe (a la the MCU). Of course, the first film out of the gate needs to be a resounding hit in order for any of that to happen, and luckily for WB, they should be sitting on a pretty pile of money by the time Detective Pikachu has concluded its theatrical run.
According to Box Office Pro (hat tip CBR), Detective Pikachu is projected to make at least $75 million domestically in its first three days. If everything breaks the right way and the movie reaches the higher end of the estimates, it's looking at a debut haul of around $90 million. Both of those figures would be much higher than WB's last live-action tentpole, Aquaman, which opened with $67.8 million back in December.
Pokémon has been a widely popular property since its heyday in the 1990s and it experienced a resurgence recently thanks to the success of the Pokémon GO mobile game. As such, it isn't surprising there's this much interest in seeing Detective Pikachu on the big screen, especially since the marketing campaign has sold people on what looks to be one of the summer's most wildly unique and creative blockbusters. Detective Pikachu is also opening two weeks after Avengers: Endgame and two weeks before Aladdin, meaning it's in an ideal position to thrive commercially and be the biggest draw for an extended period of time. There's a chance Endgame's legs will still be strong by the time Pikachu rolls around, but it will have already done most of its damage by then.
What's more is that these projections are just for the domestic box office. Pokémon, of course, has a rather sizable global following, meaning it should do even better overseas. There's a very good chance it ends up punching a ticket into the not-so-exclusive $1 billion club when it's all said and done, giving WB a go-to cash cow that arguably might be more lucrative than DC and Fantastic Beasts. Additionally, there aren't any Detective Pikachu reactions or reviews online yet, so these estimates could only rise if word-of-mouth is as enthusiastic as the studio hopes.
- Detective Pikachu (2019) release date: May 10, 2019