Avengers: Endgame’s sprint to the top was not interrupted this weekend by anyone — not even Detective Pikachu. The Marvel entity is alive and well with the second-best third weekend in film history. But signs of it reaching one particular milestone may be fading even while it stays on track to potentially become the biggest worldwide film of all time.
While the expectations of this week’s primary challenger, Detective Pikachu, were high, Avengers: Endgame was still a very easy No. 1 at the box office. Its $63 million haul is fourth all-time in third weekend grosses, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avatar, and Black Panther. However, just as James Cameron had to concede his domestic Titanic grosses this week to Endgame and will be doing so next weekend with Avatar, J.J. Abrams may be able to press pause on his concession speech. Because believe it or not, even with a $110 million head start, Endgame has actually now fallen off the pace of The Force Awakens‘ domestic haul.
By the end of Day 17, Abrams’ film — boosted in part by Christmas vacations — had made $743 million domestically. Endgame, meanwhile, now stands at $723 million in the U.S. and Canada. The weekday numbers will now align a bit closer, but there are several weeks with school still in session and i the pattern continues, Endgame will fall short of the $40+ million that Awakens, Avatar, and Panther made in weekend four, opening up the possibility that John Wick: Chapter 3 actually nudges it out of the top spot.
After that, even if Aladdin turns out to be a Memorial Day weekend fail, it should still have enough interest to knock Endgame back a little further. The weekend of June 14-16 could end up being the last mention of Endgame in the top ten. By then The Force Awakens number would be $906 million. Can Endgame survive the challengers to become the all-time domestic champion? Or will it just have to settle for being the all-time global champion? The film is currently $2.485 billion, and only needs another $303 million to achieve that goal.
Critics were not having much fun at Poms, the Diane Keaton-led retirement home cheerleader comedy that currently has a 29% on the Tomatometer. STX’s hopes that it could be this year’s Book Club (which scored 54% and opened to $13.5 million) look pretty dashed. It is the second week in a row that STX failed to get a $10 million start (including last week’s UglyDolls.)
The studio picked up Poms through auction at the American Film Market last November for between $8 million and $9 million, and it opened this weekend to $5.1 million.
Fox Searchlight has opened a film in more than 1,000 theaters just 28 times in its 183-film history. The 29th time came this weekend with Tolkien. While there was enough curiosity to earn it $2.1 million in 1,496 theaters this weekend, the biopic’s per-screen-average of $1,440 currently makes it the second-worst per-theater average among those 29 films. If the estimates hold, that is. If the number actually drops, it could fall behind the $1,383 PTA that Miss March had in 2009 and become the worst. Between Tolkien (49%) and The Aftermath (27%), Fox Searchlight has released its two lowest-scored films since 2017’s back-to-back releases of Table 19 (26%) and Wilson (48%).
Back in March, expectations for Pokemon Detective Pikachu were set for a $75 million weekend and, in some circles, a $250 million domestic haul. The high predictions came back down to Earth a bit recently as WB lowballed a $40 million start for its live-action Pokemon film. Audiences split the difference this weekend and handed over $58 million, which is a little more than what The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian opened to. A Dog’s Journey may take a small nibble out of its staying power next week and Aladdin an even larger bite the week after. Critics have marginally put it in Fresh territory with a 63% score and a first estimate of $140-170 million for Pikachu means WB will be counting on international fans to cover its $150 million budget. The film has grossed an additional $112.4 million overseas so far.
Also opening this weekend was the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake The Hustle, starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. It opened to a bit less ($13.5 million) than Wilson’s February comedy, Isn’t It Romantic?, which started with $14.2 million even with a two-day head start. At 16%, The Hustle is one of the worst-reviewed films of the year, lower than the score for Hathaway’s other delayed 2019 release, Serenity (19%).
A year ago, Avengers: Infinity War led the way for a third straight week with the fourth-best third weekend in history ($62 million.) Its two new challengers that weekend, Life of the Party with Melissa McCarthy and home invasion thriller Breaking In, duked it out for second and third with $17.88 and $17.63 million, respectively. The documentary RBG also made its way into tenth place in its second weekend with $1.18 million in 179 theaters. The top ten films grossed a total of $126.69 million and averaged 63.2% on the Tomatometer. This year’s top ten grossed an estimated $162.77 million and averaged 53.4%.
Keanu Reeves returns to potentially close out a trilogy in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. After the disappointing returns of Long Shot, Lionsgate could use a non-Tyler Perry victory. Will this be the one to finally make it to $100 million? Will its fans be enough to overthrow the Avengers in week four? Speaking of sequels and animals Mr. Wick is fond of, Universal follows up moderate hit A Dog’s Purpose with A Dog’s Journey. Then the director of Before I Fall, Ry Russo-Young, tackles another young adult novel with The Sun Is Also A Star.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]