Box office preview: 'Pirates of the Caribbean' sets sail for booty


Image Credit: Peter Mountain

It’s all about Jack Sparrow this weekend. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth movie in the Disney franchise that’s grossed $2.7 billion worldwide, is the only new wide release this week. The movie is an attempt to regain the Pirates mojo after the series’ second and third movies suffered from convoluted plots and gargantuan running times. So, at 137 minutes, this one is 32 minutes shorter than At World’s End, and Johnny Depp’s eccentric Jack Sparrow has been pushed to the forefront — so long, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. But it’s been four years since At World’s End. Are moviegoers quite as in love with Sparrow as they were a few years ago? Are people ready to forgive the series’ prior transgressions? My box-office predictions:

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: $93 million

I don’t see On Stranger Tides matching the domestic debuts of Dead Man’s Chest ($135.6 million) or At World’s End ($114.7 million). I imagine that moviegoers’ interest has waned a bit for a series that’s already tallied a running time of 463 minutes and has witnessed more double crosses than an all-girls high school. Not helping matters is that, at the time of this writing, On Stranger Tides has received the worst reviews of the franchise. And in a telling move, Disney is having the film’s talent spend this final week doing publicity overseas instead of in America. With the $250 million movie opening worldwide this weekend, Disney likely decided that there was more room for growth overseas and adjusted the film’s publicity schedule accordingly. Even if On Stranger Tides underperforms at the domestic box office this weekend, Disney can count on a massive international opening.

When I say “underperforms,” let’s keep this in perspective. After all, this is Jack Sparrow we’re talking about, and movie characters don’t get any more popular than him. The PG-13 film is playing at 4,155 theaters domestically, including about 2,700 3-D theaters and 256 IMAX locations. That’s a huge release, and those 3-D and IMAX surcharges should lift its haul. On Stranger Tides could conceivably open anywhere from $80 million to $120 million. I’m sticking to the lower part of that range, but when you’re dealing with grosses this big, one might as well start throwing darts at a list of numbers.

2. Bridesmaids: $18 million

It’ll be a close battle for second place between Bridesmaids and Thor, but the R-rated wedding comedy is generating some excellent word-of-mouth and has so far trumped the god of thunder on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. So I’m giving it the edge — expect a slight drop of about 30 percent.

3. Thor: $17.5 million

In spite of scoring the smallest second-weekend decline for a Marvel superhero film since 2002’s Spider-Man, this flick is going to be hit hard by On Stranger Tides. It’ll be losing a significant number of 3-D and IMAX screens, and the two films are essentially going after the same audience. Thor seems destined for a 50 percent drop this weekend.

4. Fast Five: $12 million

The street-racing action film held up well its third week, skidding only 37 percent. It won’t be as adversely affected by On Stranger Tides‘ emergence as Thor will, so I’m betting on a decline that’s somewhere between 40 and 45 percent.

5. Priest: $6 million

With uninspired reviews and a lackluster “C+” grade from CinemaScore audiences, this PG-13 action horror film should plummet around 60 percent this week.

In limited release, Woody Allen’s well-reviewed romantic comedy Midnight in Paris, which opened this year’s Cannes Film Festival, debuts in six theaters in Los Angeles and New York.

Comments (28 total) Add your comment
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  • anti

    since the 1st POtC, its was flat crap, is it exciting noooo, is it funny,noooo. its boring, if u have a problem sleeping this movie is the answer….zzzzz

    U shd give it a ZZZZZZ

    • Adwina Lambert

      pure pop trash!!! tee-hee!

  • Tony

    Pirates 4 is just a silly Cash in sequel. I know America is not not stupid enough to watch this crap..

    • deedeedragons

      Hahahahahaha that’s the funniest thing i’ve heard all day.

    • baker

      “not not stupid”?

      • ClayManBob

        Grow up.

    • ryan

      Shut up TOne! you know everyone is going to, and as for the first post, your an idiot. Im sure you just slept through the other two!

      • Will

        If you are going to call someone an idiot at least know the difference between “your” and “you’re.”

      • Adonica

        Is that really all there is to it because that’d be flaebbrasgting.

  • Miki

    That LOL guy would finally prove a point if Pirates 4 makes more than 80 mil.. not worth my money ..

  • KK

    Funny how they twist things to prove a point. Box office finals for 2007 put Pirates-World’s End-in 4th in gross sales…Not too bad for a “crap” movie, I’d say…this genre has a following and I’m betting 80 mil will not be a problem, since reviews did at least say it is better than world’s end which grossed over 300 mil.

  • Marte

    It has not gotten the worst reviews. Come on! People say that it’s the best one since the first one. But of course not better.

    • Sia

      Rotten Tomatoes 35%

  • frostback

    Define ‘new.’

  • Thor is only losing 39 Screens

    that doesn’t sound like too many???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • yin and yang

    give it a rest people it’s an escape a fun movie. I’m going to see it when I get a chance.

    • Adwina Lambert

      pure pop trash and that depp soooo over-rated!! tee-hee!

  • jon

    You all know its all about the cash. I have not seen one of these pirates films. I may need to see the first one to judge.

    “find jobs in showbiz on careerDaddy com’

  • Matt C.

    I’m planning on seeing the new Pirates movie tomorrow, and hopefully it’s not as bad as most reviewers are making it out to be. I actually enjoyed the 2nd and 3rd movies though, so I’ll probably like this one.

  • ST

    I’m going with $75 million for this. i think it will do well but not close to the others. Though Johnny Depp is a big part of the draw, I think it’s going to hurt that it’s not the original cast.

    • Brett

      The extra dollars from 3D and IMAX surcharges will make up for the absence of Bloom, Knightley and Nighy.

  • Brett

    It’s Johnny Depp in 3D. Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” used this same formula to rake in huge bucks on a bad movie. “Pirates” will undoubtedly pick up huge bucks; $93 million is not a bad prediction.

  • larry k

    Just saw it,a little slow in spots,but,still entertaining.Not as bad as the critics say.

  • Kimmy

    This was an entertaining movie. I enjoyed the storyline. Go see if for yourself. I loved them all. I never had to look at my watch once.

  • Laura W

    I hope pirates makes it through the weekend; but it still looks good. Note in the south pacific it is May 21st and nothing has happen. In your face, 89 year old crazy man!!

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