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Weekend Box Office: 'Pirates 4' Scores Biggest Global Debut Of All-Time Despite Being A Shitty Movie

by Gabe Toro
May 22, 2011 5:37 AM
17 Comments
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This weekend, Disney pooled their resources with Jerry Bruckheimer and produced an insta-blockbuster. Apathy is the name of the game with “Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” which scored the biggest bow of 2011 despite being a piece of shit that grossed lower in its opening frame than its two predecessors. “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At Worlds End” both cracked $100 million in their first domestic weekend, but even with the elevated 3D pricing, “Pirates 4” couldn’t cross nine digits.

Which is irrelevant, of course. Because, as much as Hollywood wants to claim they are bleeding from record attendance drops, the international market has never been more viable. The “Pirates” pictures are wildly more successful overseas than they are in America, and even if the domestic gross doesn’t match the reported $250 million price tag (a fifth of which goes to Johnny Depp - yes, really), they needn’t worry about Peoria, because, for once, “big in Japan” actually means something.

The question is, does “Pirates 4” perform from here on out like the typical huge blockbuster that no one really likes? If it shows the type of legs popularized by that preferred subgenre (60% drops each weekend), and takes a hit from next weekend’s “The Hangover Part II” (which some say could gross $100 million over the Memorial Day weekend) then “Pirates” won’t sniff the domestic numbers of any of the “Pirates” films thus far.

But who cares? With the film registering the biggest five-day international haul in history (which is impressive, though the day-and-date release model is still a relatively new innovation), the picture is due to appeal to all sorts of undemanding audiences overseas. Even with a ridiculous budget, “Pirates” should be profitable provided it passes $500 million internationally which, given that the last two were well over $600 million in overseas regions, should be a given. “Pirates 5” is a sure thing, in other words, as is “The Lone Ranger,” and possibly the “Thin Man” remake with “Pirates 4” director Rob Marshall, who himself will continue to get material he doesn‘t deserve. Hey, remember when Johnny Depp made movies that weren’t a piece of shit?

The big news worth celebrating this weekend was the muscular hold for “Bridesmaids.” The lady-centric comedy performed spectacularly in its second frame, losing less than 20% of its audience, landing at just a tad under $60 million in ten days of release. It definitely looks like it’s connected with the Apatow audience that drove similar male-centric fare to $100 million. After that opening, nine figures seemed uncertain, but now, it looks highly likely, though “The Hangover” will surely take a huge chunk of that audience. Considering most were predicting “Bridesmaids” would tap out at $40 million, this might end up being one of the summer’s most surprising, and profitable, hits.

Thor” lost some of the wind in its sails in its third weekend, lapped by “Bridesmaids” as it dropped over 50%. But the picture has already surpassed Marvel’s underperforming “Incredible Hulk” and looks like it should crest $400 million globally by this weekend. It doesn’t look likely to match the gross for “Fast Five,” the latter with just enough left in its tank to hit $200 million, which may even happen next weekend, considering the two blockbusters (“Hangover” and “Kung-Fu Panda 2”) skew to either adult or child audiences, leaving the teen and older-family audience shut out of “Pirates” to catch these two pictures. Or, you know, go outside and enjoy the weather. Maybe socialize.

Pretty quiet with the rest of the box office, allowing “Rio” to remain in the top five even though, with $450 million global in the tin, it’s clearly just playing out the string. “Priest” took a nearly-70% tumble, and could finish under $30 million, while “Jumping The Broom” and “Something Borrowed” remain locked in mortal combat, both at a $31 million total. “Broom” is the bigger success, with a lower budget and a higher per-screen average from many less engagements than “Borrowed,” but we’ll have a feeling Hollywood will keep casting “Borrowed” star Kate Hudson over “Broom” leading lady Paula Patton. Just a hunch.

Indie theaters saw a monstrous debut from Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris.” With only a six screen debut, “Paris” cracked the top twelve, collecting $529k with a per-screen average of $96k. By comparison, “Pirates Of The Caribbean” averaged $21k per-screen. Of course, as is with many expansions, can “Paris” continue to fill houses as it expands? The last major indie debut in this ballpark was “Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire” which scored $104k per-engagement, but never blossomed into a major performer, topping out at $47 million. The last Allen picture to gross over $40 million domestically, for the record, was “Hannah And Her Sisters” about a quarter of a century ago. We are getting older. And apparently not watching newer Woody Allen movies.

Other indie releases were not so fortunate. A highlight was Werner Herzog’s “Cave Of Forgotten Dreams,” which expanded onto 107 screens and grabbed $439k, for a four week total of just slightly under $2 million. The only other debut on the market to register was “35 And Ticking,” a romantic comedy that grabbed $30k on six screens. Support your local arthouse theater, boys and girls.

1. Pirates Of The Caribbean: Discount Edition (Disney) - $90.1 million
2. Bridesmaids (Universal) - $21 million ($59 mil.)
3. Thorgasm (Paramount) - $15.5 million ($145 mil.)
4. Movie Five Fast Car Vroom (Universal) - $10.6 million ($186 mil.)
5. Rio (Fox) - $4.7 million ($142 mil.)
6. Priest (Sony/Screen Gems) - $4.6 million ($24 mil.)
7. Jumping The Broom (Sony/TriStar) - $3.7 million ($31 mil.)
8. Something Borrowed (Warner Bros.) - $3.4 million ($31 mil.)
9. Snapple For Elephants (Fox) - $2.1 million ($52 mil.)
10. Tyler Perry Presents A Tyler Perry Movie Does It Matter What it’s Called It’s A Tyler Perry Movie (Lionsgate) - $990k ($52 mil.)

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17 Comments

  • Kim | June 1, 2011 1:05 AMReply

    Johnny Depp makes movies that he wants to do, not what you want him to do. His movies are fun, and if you don't like them, then don't watch them. Its that simple.Usually people who like to tear apart other peoples work have underlying issues. Envy much?

  • mike | May 26, 2011 12:23 PMReply

    well these pirates movies are the only thing making disney any money, so I don't see them nixxing them anytime soon....sorry to burst your bubble maties! We may even have to suffer throigh pirates 8, 9, 10, and so on!

  • Glass | May 23, 2011 8:59 AMReply

    Goddamn, I hate to be the Token to your Tyler Perry but these weekend boffice posts crack me up so much. It's the only way to deal with these movies. I know if I had to watch and report on crap like this, I would be 10x more nihilistic than you, so I applaud your strength.

  • Gabe Toro | May 23, 2011 8:08 AMReply

    Ain't no compliment like a backhanded compliment! "On Stranger Tides" was a terrible, vacuous movie by any standard.

  • Maha | May 23, 2011 4:09 AMReply

    Johnny Depp couldn't care less about your shitty opinion.
    As far as I'm concerned, this movie isn't as bad as everyone is toting it out to be. A sequel can never be as good as the original (exception- Toy Story 3), and this is meant to be more of a spin-off than a sequel.
    Also, I think people are too used to Gore's excellent vision associated with Pirates- and the difference in direction is one they found hard to get over.
    Anyways, Johnny's never done much other people wanted him to do. He's always taken roles and films more appealing to himself than to others, in his career, and that is exactly what he's doing now.
    As for “remember when Johnny Depp made movies that weren’t a piece of shit?”- He makes one failure (The Tourist) and one less appealing film (Alice in Wonderland) and you're disregarding him just like that? Just because he had one bad year, in '10? Wow. I didn't know American audiences had such a short span memory. I think one of the main reasons you guys are reacting this way is because he makes less movies nowadays.
    Anyways, wait for "The Rum Diary" before judging him so harshly. Slated to release this fall.

  • David | May 23, 2011 3:17 AMReply

    Man idk why people are talking so much shit about the movie. The trilogy was finished this one was a spin off of it so people need to stop comparing it to them. It's kicked all the other movies ass out so far and in it's own right it's a good movie. Fuck the critics they don't know shit it matters what the people think of it and by the money that it's making its overall a success. I'm definantly looking forward to pirates 5

  • icu | May 23, 2011 2:00 AMReply

    Rum Diary: Where Depp sleepwalks through another Cap'n Jack / Burton-esq zany performance, but critics fall all over him, because this time it is in a "serious movie". You can see the Oscar nom already. Hollywood wants to give him that award, but they aren't willing to wait for him to deliver a challenging performance. Why don't they cut to the chase and give it to him for Cap'n Jack? Same performance and they can move on.

  • classicalgregg | May 23, 2011 1:56 AMReply

    My Goodness Hoffman~
    One has to wonder why you would continuously subject yourself to "bloated, overlong, overloaded, over stuffed and pretentious" movies. You must be a bit of a masochist.

    I personally love Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the character of Capt. Jack Sparrow in particular. It is escapism pure and simple.

  • Cory Everett | May 22, 2011 10:06 AMReply

    But if Johnny Depp's only recent defendable film is one where he's never actually onscreen, that's prob not a good thing.

  • carrie | May 22, 2011 9:53 AMReply

    RANGO was a really good movie (and all of fun)

  • Ian | May 22, 2011 9:43 AMReply

    Seconded on Rango. Not a piece of crap in the least. That's still the best "fun" movie of the year as far as I'm concerned.

  • Sara | May 22, 2011 9:36 AMReply

    sp,

    I was referencing this film and Just Wright. I should have been clearer but she can not act in romantic comedies. I just don't believe she has that in her arsenal. She did great with Deja Vu and Precious. I believe dramas is where she will shine. And I am sure Mission Impossible will do well for her.

    I have on good authority that Paula gets pretty of offers. The problem: they are roles she doesn't want. And the ones she wants, she usually lose out on. Add on top of that, she has a family, her choices are fairly limited.

    Long post but IMO romantic comedies are not for everyone. She and her co-star, Laz Alonso, fit into those categories.

  • jaye | May 22, 2011 9:02 AMReply

    Dude, I totally LOL'd at that title. Literally.

  • sp | May 22, 2011 8:57 AMReply

    Sara, Paula Patton has acting talent. But, because she is African-American, she is not receiving many job offers. Which is a damn shame !

  • Rashad | May 22, 2011 8:55 AMReply

    "remember when Johnny Depp made movies that weren’t a piece of shit?"

    Rango
    Public Enemies

  • Sara | May 22, 2011 8:38 AMReply

    Well, neither Kate nor Paula can act so they are pretty much interchangeable in my book. Not to mention both movies were atrocious, I prefer studios ignore both of them but I doubt I could ever be that lucky. I love both ladies but they do not need to ever do romantic comedies. Dramas and action, yes, romantic comedies, however, are an epic fail.

  • Hoffman | May 22, 2011 8:27 AMReply

    I hope this is the last ever Pirates of the Caribbean movie even though the scene after the credits was arrogantly included for yet another sequel to be made. The entire film series has been awful - bloated, overlong, overloaded, overstuffed, pretentious films about a one-note character.

    It would be good if Johnny Depp does more dramas and plays more straight and normal characters. However, I have already given up on him from his poor choices in roles and projects and don't expect him to.

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