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PIRATES 4 Sails into First

Fourth Pirates adventure earns top 2011 opening tally.

By Jarrod Sarafin     May 22, 2011

Ian McShane's Blackbeard helps Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides debut in 1st place
© Disney/Bob Trate


It’s hard to imagine a new release taking down the top domestic opening of the year, the top worldwide opening of the year, the fourth highest worldwide opening of all-time and still not meeting the expectations of its studio. That seems to be the case here for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, with Walt Disney falling short of its $100 million prediction with an opening tally of $90.1 million in coin in its U.S. opening. Still, it’s even harder to fathom the studio executives being all that upset after accomplishing the above feats.
Its $90.1 million has it as the best domestic premiere for a U.S. release, ahead of Fast Five’s $86.1 million performance earlier this month. Combine that very decent score with the massive $256.3 million in earned from international waters, this latest chapter came in with an amazing worldwide effort of $346.4 million after its first weekend.
Disney’s president of worldwide distribution, Chuck Viane, also seemed very pleased the film’s opening results.
“I thinkRob Marshall obviously made one hell of a movie. And when you team Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp, it’s dynamite,” says Disney’s Chuck Viane. “And for me, I will never look $90 million in the face and say it’s not a successful opening. Tracking had always aimed at this number, but everybody tried to make it more than the realty of tracking was,” Viane continued. “And there’s no doubt but that the international box office is becoming more and more important.”
Sounds about right. The $256.3 million it made overseas in its first weekend equals the sizeable budget of $250 million (not including heavy marketing). It has nowhere to go but up the rest of its summer run at the box office.
Universal continues to have a great May month with their female-focused raunchy comedy, Bridesmaids. After shocking insiders by taking down $26.2 million in its debut last weekend, the Judd Apatow-produced film landed in 2nd place this weekend by earning another $21.0 million at the box office. Its latest numbers has the domestic cume at $59.5 million, nearly double its $32.5 million price tag. Between this and the action film Fast Five (ranked 4th this frame), the Universal family is on a roll this summer.
Falling two places to 3rd place is Paramount Pictures’ comic adaptation of Thor. The film dipped 55% in its third weekend but still found a decent $15.5 million in cash across the nation. Its latest performance has the domestic score at $145.4 million, very close to its $150 million budget. The Chris Hemsworth-led superhero effort has also pulled in decent oversea numbers in its first three frames by earning another $237.4 million in foreign markets. The global cume stands at $382.8 million after 17 days of release.
As mentioned above, Universal’s Fast Five dropped one notch down to 4th place by rolling up another $10.6 million on 3,622 theaters across the states. The film’s fourth frame numbers has its domestic tally at $186.2 million, making it very possible the studio could be crossing the coveted $200 million range over the next two weeks. It seems an incredible feat for a fifth installment in an action franchise.
With another $320 million from its foreign audience, Fast Five currently sits on top of the 2011 summer race (see below) with a global score of $506.2 million.
And holding steady in the 5th place spot is once again 20th Century Fox’s animation, Rio. The adventure from South America has been in the same spot for three consecutive weeks, with the release dropping only 43% in its sixth frame. It pulled in another $4.6 million and increased its total to $131.6 million. The film also has another $306.9 million in foreign areas, making for a global cume of $438.6 million. Not too shabby for a film which reportedly cost only $90 million to produce.
Domestic revenues were actually up this weekend, with Pirates’ 3D effort helping the overall race tick up 12% from a year ago. Check out the rest of the top 10 down below and sound off with your thoughts.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
$90.1 mil
$90.1 mil
$21.0 mil
$59.5 mil
$15.5 mil
$145.4 mil
Fast Five
$10.6 mil
$186.2 mil
$4.6 mil
$131.6 mil
$4.6 mil
$23.6 mil
Jumping the Broom
$3.7 mil
$31.3 mil
Something Borrowed
$3.4 mil
$31.4 mil
Water for Elephants
$2.1 mil
$52.4 mil
Madea’s Big Happy Family
$990 k
$51.7 mil

Here's the top earners of summer 2011 (worldwide) as they sit now. As reported the previous weekends, Rio is not on here because it was released in mid April and certain May releases (Priest) won't be included because of low theatrical counts. We consider summer tent poles to be released in 3,500 or higher venues.
Fast Five Numbers:
Budget: $125 mil
Opening: $86.1 mil

Domestic: $186.2 mil
Foreign: $320.0 mil
Worldwide: $506.2 mil
Thor Numbers:
Budget: $150 mil
Opening: $65.7 mil

Domestic: $145.4 mil
Foreign: $237.4 mil
Worldwide: $382.8 mil
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Numbers:
Budget: $250 mil
Opening: $90.1 mil

Domestic: $90.1 mil
Foreign: $256.3 mil
Worldwide: $346.4 mil
Friday, May 27, 2011 Releases:
(Early Thursday showings)
Kung Fu Panda 2 (3,800+)
The Hangover II (3,500+)
The Tree of Life
United Red Army
Tuesday, After Christmas


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lazerman 5/22/2011 12:50:04 PM

WOW! Almost 3 times more money is made in the WORLD market than in the Domestic market. I think Holloywood needs to keep pushing that world market, that is where they will be making the big bucks! I am impressed! Pirates was fun, but I think the reviews and people's expectations are going to hurt its second weekend.


Looking forward to this weekend though, THE HANGOVER and KUNG FU PANDA 2, for the first weekend in a LONG time, 2 movies I want to see are being released! LOL

TheMovieGuy28 5/22/2011 1:02:25 PM

Well, 90 million for Pirates. I was right.

21 mil for Bridesmaids. I said 17 give or take 2, so I was off by 2.

15.5 for Thor, which I thought would fall to 4th.....preparing crow.

10.6 for Fast Five.....should pass 200 million by June 3rd

So I have been saying Thor would end between 157-167, looks like that's gonna happen.

Gonna make another bold prediction here-Pirates 4 will NOT break 200 million. I'm saying a 60% drop or more this next weekend, considering Kung-Fu II is in 3D, that's gonna take a huge chunk, along with kids, and most adults will see the Hangover, then X-Men is here, then Super 8 is here.

Consider Fast Five made 86 million, on 3,700 screens to Pirates 4150, with ZERO 3D. Also, I just read it cost something like 450mil to make and roll-out Pirates 4. It may make it back internationally, but it's gonna be considered a flop here. Furthermore, consider that without the 3D or midnight showings, Pirates 4 may have only made between 70-75 million, which is hardly staggering.

And perhaps you may not have heard,  but there's some small little film called the Grien Lanturne coming out June 17th.

It will emeraldize the box office until Transformers gets here, at which point, the collectively fanboys will be able to crack a blanket in half(thanks Bridesmaids) when they go home that night.

InnerSanctum 5/22/2011 1:26:13 PM

 Really surprised at Fast Five's success.  Not even close to something I'd want to watch.  

After all the positive reviews, I really thought Thor would be doing better domestically.  I was very pleasantly surprised by the film.  How a comic book movie should be made.  On Marvel films, I place it behind Iron Man and Spidey 2.  I'd hoped it would perform better in the States simply because I would like to see a sequel.  

wessmith1966 5/22/2011 1:29:45 PM

I saw POC this weekend (in 2D) and found it rather boring. To be honest though, I haven't liked the series all that much beyond the first film. I was tired of Depp's effeminate, drunken Sparrow after the first film. The whole deal/betrayal upon deal/betrayal upon...well, you get the picture...was just tired. The kids were pretty bored with the film, too. The only plus for this film for me was McShane as Blackbeard, but he's godd in everything he does. The man owns the screen when he's on in every pictures he's in. I always thought he would have made a good Magneto.

Thor's doing better than I thought it would. I figured it would hit around $130 million here in the states. I was way wrong about that one.

Can't wait to see Hangover 2 this weekend. We've got a group of about 20 going for dinner and drinks and then to the movie; should be a blast! The kids are looking forward to Kung Fu Panda 2. Luckily, I don't have to sit through that one because I didn't like the first one.

Saw the new Green Lantern trailer before POC and I starting to get excited for the film; same with the new X-Men film. I'm still not crazy about the suit and lantern designs, but the more I see them the more it seems to work on screen. I think X-Men is going to be a pleasant surprise.

InnerSanctum 5/22/2011 1:32:35 PM

 Time to eat crow.  I saw Thor in 3D and really enjoyed the effect.  I think it worked better for me, than it did in Tron, because so much of it was well lit.  Asgard was pretty impressive in 3D.  I admit, seeing the Captain America preview and the shield coming at you in 3D made me rethink the technology.  

flyinroo 5/22/2011 2:06:38 PM

I just can't bring myself to go to the theater to watch POC. The second film was okay, but the third was horrible. This one doesnt look exciting at all to me. I am anxiously awaiting X-Men, Super 8, Green Lantern and Captain America. I am not at all excited for Transformers, it will have to wait for dvd before I spend the time on it.

Calibur454 5/22/2011 4:12:24 PM

I really dont find this any type of surprise. Pirates would be a hit. It may be possible for hangover 2 to knock it out of first place next week. It wouldnt surprise me given the success of the first film. I havent seen pirates 4 yet. Just going to buy the dvd when it comes out. Im waiting for Captain America. Thats the next film I see in the theater.

TheMovieGuy28 5/22/2011 4:28:58 PM


Calibur, there's not a snowballs chance next week Pirates is first. Kung-Fu Panda II is going to easily pull in 80 , and the Hangover will probably be right around 60 too.  People may call me crazy, but the first films opened to 60 and 45 million, respectively. Both of those films could easily make 20 million more opening weekend than their predacessors

No, I'm pretty sure Pirates is going to drop to somewhere between 30-45 million. And 40 is asking a lot, b/c I really don't think it's possible Hollywood could have 3 40 million films in the same weekend. I'm not sure if it's done before, but that's a tall order...If Thor, as praised as it's been, dropped from 65 to 35 in it's 2nd weekend, and people actually liked it, I can't believe Pirates will hold at anything higher than a 60 percent drop or more.

Also, Calibur, are you saying you're basically not going back to the movies for 2 months? Anything else you going to see after that or is summer basically 1 movie for you this year? You're skipping X-Men, Super 8, Green Lantern, Transformers, Cowboys & Ailens(granted not coming out til August but still). I'm not startin anything, just curious. This summer seems loaded with entertainment.

jppintar326 5/22/2011 4:51:53 PM

Went to see Priest this weekend.  I rather enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  Yes, it rips a lot from Blade but it is entertaining and probably worth a video rental.

If you have to stop to think about anything that happens in Fast Five, this is not the movie for you.  I loved it.  Very entertaining and that fight between The Rock and Vin Diesel was worth the price of admission.

Wiseguy 5/22/2011 5:37:48 PM

Not that surprised about POTC, it had been getting terrible word of mouth ever since Cannes. Unlike Fast Five which upped the ante with incredible action and had a heck of a draw with the ensemble POTC had lame action, useless roles and wasted star power. Jack's first escape had some of the worst "action" ever, it was slow, had no sense of danger, nothing clever. The part in the carriage was the equal of making a getaway on one of those scooters used by really obese folk.

Fast Five rebounded from some less than stellar sequels so there's no doubt that POTC can too. Better writers and director. Back to some clever action and escapes. Jack needs to stop being a fool and return to the smart guy passing himself off as a fool

Biggest surprise of the week undoubtedly was Bridesmaids, not the 2nd place but the 20% drop. It was a segment that had been ignored for a long time, a raunchy female comedy and a good one at that

I'll be checking out KungFu panda next week. Haven't seen Hangover and have no plans to see the sequel.

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