Detective Pikachu has just fallen short of the tally required for it to have become the highest grossing video game movie of all time. A loose adaptation of the Nintendo DS puzzle game of the same name, its story saw a young man named Tim searching for his detective father, missing and presumed dead. He teams up with his father’s amnesiac Pikachu partner, who unlike regular Pokémon can inexplicably speak normally but only to Tim’s ears, to look into his disappearance.
Retaining the financial take crown is Duncan Jones’ fantasy epic Warcraft, which despite a poor domestic showing and a negative reception from general audiences and fans of the games on which it was based, still managed to rake in $433 million, largely due to a strong showing in China, which is one of the biggest markets for the World of Warcraft MMO despite government control and censorship of its gameplay. Despite Detective Pikachu’s strong opening weekend (aided by the popularity of Pokémon Go) that accounted for a large chunk of the tally required to hit the top spot, in the end it wasn’t quite enough.
According to the tally listed on Box Office Mojo, the worldwide gross of Detective Pikachu currently stands at $429 million, a few million shy of Warcraft’s total. Although the film is still on release in a few overseas markets, the weekend tally was less than $7,000, meaning any shot the film might have had at the crown has long since passed. To clarify any potential confusion, it’s been reported elsewhere that Detective Pikachu actually has become the highest grossing video game movie with a worldwide gross of $436 million, which would have exceeded Warcraft’s total by $3 million, but this total appears to be based on a miscalculation.
From their inception in the risible Super Mario Bros in 1993, video game adaptations have had a constant struggle to attain legitimacy, typically receiving (at best) lukewarm receptions while often ending up as financial failures due to the moviegoing public having already written them off in self-fulfilling predictions of low expectations, with Paul W. S. Anderson’s highly profitable Resident Evil series being one of the few exceptions. Other films remain obscure in spite of their quality after being hamstrung by limited availability, such as Takashi Miike’s magnificently demented 2012 live action adaptation of puzzle game series Ace Attorney, which saw very little release beyond the shores of its native Japan.
Detective Pikachu might not financially be the biggest video game movie ever, but it’s certainly the best received one, generally being a hit with audiences and with many critics praising its merits, affording it the highest rating on Rotten Tomatoes of any video game adaptation. Although it might be a significant one, financial success shouldn’t be taken as the sole indicator of quality (if it was, Avatar wouldn’t still be the highest grossing movie of all time) - and even though Detective Pikachu didn’t hit the heights of the biggest financial take ever of its very particular subgenre, few people would argue against it deserving to.
Source: Box Office Mojo