Detective Pikachu had most successful debut in video game movie history

detective pikachu record video game movie

Over 20 years after the series made its debut, Pokémon finally has a major live-action movie. Detective Pikachu launched to mostly positive reviews, which is rare for a video game movie. Audiences are loving Ryan Reynolds’ performance, and that’s great news for Legendary Entertainment. We previously reported that Detective Pikachu was projected to earn around $54 million over the weekend, but it actually did even better than that. In fact, it’s pulling in cash at a record-breaking pace.

A record-setting start

Box Office Mojo reports that Detective Pikachu made $58 million during its opening weekend in the US. That’s a new record for the best opening weekend for a video game movie. Detective Pikachu beat out Lara Croft: Tomb Raider ($47 million) to take the top spot for video game movie debuts. It’s already in the top 10 for highest-grossing video game movies in US history, and it’s just getting started. Box Office Mojo projects it to earn around $160 million domestically by the time it’s all said and done. That would be enough to beat out Lara Croft: Tomb Raider by around $30 million.

Detective Pikachu is performing admirably on the international market as well. It pulled in $40.8 million in China and also had strong showings in the UK, Germany, France, and Mexico. The movie generated $103 million internationally just over the weekend. It debuted a week earlier in Japan, bringing the international total to $112.4 million. Add in the US numbers, and Detective Pikachu has made $170.4 million around the world. It had a budget of $150 million, so it’s already turning a profit.

Detective Pikachu now has a real shot at becoming the most successful video game movie in history. It’s also one of the best-received attempts at adapting a video game. Moviegoers have given it an average score of “A-” according to Cinemascore. That strong word-of-mouth advertising should help it achieve solid numbers long after its opening weekend. Can it be the very best, like no one ever was?


Ben Lamoreux
Nintendo Enthusiast's Managing Editor. I grew up on Super Nintendo and never stopped playing. Been writing video game news, opinions, reviews, and interviews professionally for over a decade. Favorite franchises include Zelda, Metroid, and Mother.