Detective Pikachu opened on Friday to an estimated $58 million in the North American box office and has already been hailed as one of the best live-action film adaptations of a video game.
Though the film opened at #2, behind the wildly successful Avengers: Endgame, it’s still the sixth highest opening ever for a movie that didn’t open at #1. The film’s success stands to show the timeless and enduring popularity of Pokemon extends well beyond the games.
The film has received mixed reviews so far with critics praising the design of the Pokemon, and applauding Ryan Reynolds’ performance, but criticizing the plot as being standard and playing it safe. Reynolds’ stars as a gruffer and more caffeinated, though equally as adorable, adaptation of the title character, teaming up with Justice Smith as Tim Goodman, a former Pokemon trainer and reluctant hero investigating the whereabouts of his missing father. The CGI Reynolds’ character, along with the other Pokemon are immaculately integrated alongside the live action performers in a spectacular display of movie magic.
The writers of the film opted to twist the plot of its source material and chose to file in on the concept of evolution, rather than create a film entangled by elements that work better in the medium of gaming. It’s a smart move in the creative realm as the transformations of Pokemon in live-action are absolutely breathtaking. Though, these visual transformations are used sparingly as they take a backseat to the overlying metaphor of evolution in the film. According to writer Benji Samit, this is just the beginning of the Pokemon franchise, kicking off what is expected to be a long line of a stories in the new live-action universe. It’ll be interesting to see how the franchise evolves in the coming years.