For the first time in nearly a year, two films grossed over $50 million in one weekend. In its third weekend, “Avengers: Endgame” edged out “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” but the margin was closer than projected. There were three other wide releases, but these two films made up two thirds of the overall total. Still, with this weekend $30 million higher than 2018, the year-to-date deficit now stands at 9%, or just under $600 million.
Legendary Entertainment’s “Pokémon” (which opened in Japan ahead of other territories) has amassed $170 million so far, $58 million of that domestic. With a $150 million budget, and likely close to that in marketing costs, it minimally needs to double that amount (more most likely) to be a good return on investment.
It also has potential a longer-term franchise. The film versions of the characters have previously been G rated, with the biggest being the 1999 animated “Pokemon: The First Movie.” It opened about the same as this mostly live-action version, with multiple sequels falling quickly.
The wider acceptance here comes from the presence of Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu, as well as the first sign of possible elevated interest in big-ticket, fantasy-oriented films in the wake of “Endgame.” The depth of that interest isn’t yet clear. And although the yellow rodent got close, it couldn’t overtake the Marvel movie in its third weekend — one case where the often-overstated value of a Top Ten ranking seems meaningful.
Boosting the “Pokémon” position was a bigger than expected drop for “Endgame,” which fell 57%; by comparison, “Infinity War” fell 46% in its third weekend. “Endgame” has already grossed $55 million better than the entire take for “Infinity,” but it’s no longer running on steroids. Two weekends that dropped more than expected doesn’t impact the record-breaking capacities for “Endgame,” but it does lower ultimate projections.
The current trajectory means that its domestic total may not reach the initially anticipated $900 million. That would mean it will fall short of (in misleading actual totals) all-time leader “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which sits at $936 million. Worldwide totals are nearing $2.5 billion, so its quest to overtake the unadjusted “Avatar” total still seems doable,
The industry norm is to believe mothers want to see comedies or thrillers on Mother’s Day weekend, and three titles tried to cash in. “The Hustle” is a remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (itself a remake of a lesser-known Marlon Brando comedy, 1964’s “The Bedtime Story”). Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as two women who join as swindlers on the French Riviera. The added angle here is they target men who have wronged women. “The Hustle” came in at or above expectations, but looks like the lowest Mother’s Day gross in recent years.
It faced competition for its audience, including “Poms” with a terrific older female cast including Diane Keaton, Pam Grier, and Jacki Weaver. It managed a little over $5 million, falling short of both “The Hustle” as well as last year’s “Book Club,” also with Keaton, which opened one week after Mother’s Day and reached $68 million. “Poms” will struggle to pass much beyond $10 million.
The final opener was “Tolkien” from Fox Searchlight. This biopic about the author of the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” is the kind of film it usually platforms, but here the studio rolled the dice and went wide. The $2.15 million gross resulted in an A- Cinemascore. At least, they got more people in theaters to spread a positive reaction than a limited opening would have done.
Lionsgate opened “Long Shot” with Charlize Theron and Seth Rogan last weekend to build momentum for Mother’s Day and it dropped 37%, tying with “Breakthrough” for best hold. However, at not quite $20 million, it doesn’t look like a breakout at its estimated cost of over $40 million.
Edging it out was the second weekend of “The Intruder,” which had 1,000 fewer theaters. The thriller cost under $10 million, so it will be an original, profitmaking film.
“UglyDolls” had the worst fall, down 54% and looking for a domestic take ahead of little more than $20 million. “Captain Marvel” took tenth place; in its tenth weekend, it’s now at $423 million.
The Top Ten
1. Avengers: Endgame (Disney) Week 3; Last weekend #1
$63,054,000 (-57%) in 4,662 theaters (no change); PTA (per theater average): $13,525; Cumulative: $723,500,000
2. Pokemon Detective Pikachu (Warner Bros.) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 52; Est. budget: $150 million
$58,000,000 in 4,202 theaters; PTA: $13,803; Cumulative: $58,000,000
3. The Hustle (United Artists) NEW – Cinemascore: B-; Metacritic: 36; Est. budget: $(unknown) XXXXXXXXX
$13,536,000 in 3,007 theaters; PTA: $4,502; Cumulative: $13,536,000
4. The Intruder (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #2
$6,600,000 (-39%) in 2,222 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,970; Cumulative: $20,975,000
5. Long Shot (Lionsgate) Week 2; Last weekend #3
$6,125,000 (-37%) in 3,230 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,896; Cumulative: $19,737,000
6. Poms (STX) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 37; Est. budget: $10 million
$5,110,000 in 2,750 theaters; PTA: $1,858; Cumulative: $5,110,000
7. UglyDolls (STX) Week 2; Last weekend #4
$3,920,000 (-54%) in 3,652 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,073; Cumulative: $14,273,000
8. Breakthrough (Disney) Week 4; Last weekend #6
$2,446,000 (-37%) in 1,902 theaters (-982); PTA: $1,297; Cumulative: $37,107,000
9. Tolkien (Fox Searchlight) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 48; Est. budget: $20 million
$2,153,000 in 1,495 theaters; PTA: $1,440; Cumulative: $2,153,000
10. Captain Marvel (Disney) Week 10; Last weekend #5
$1,813,000 (-58%) in 1,504 theaters (-739); PTA: $1,205; Cumulative: $423,777,000