SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 7TH UPDATE: Arrrr, mateys, now I know why these marauders of the seas are always cranky. Because in North America this weekend, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opened with only $35 million Friday and $32 million Saturday from 4,155 theaters because of weak demand for sequels and 3D. But it doesn’t matter because the action pic made it up overseas where sequels still rule and 3D is still king. It finished the weekend with the #1 biggest 5-day international opening of $256.3M (beating Harry Potter 6‘s $236M) and the #4 biggest global opening of all time with $346.4M (behind Harry Potter 6, Spidey 3, and Pirates 3). It’s now the best global, international, and domestic opening of 2011:
1. Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 3D (Disney) NEW [4,155 Theaters]
Friday $35M, Saturday $32M, Weekend $90.1M
International Cume $256.3M, Global Cume $346.4M
A Disney exec told me Friday that IMAX grosses were “very solid” for the film, but Saturday morning he admitted that 3D had turned “very soft” in the U.S. and Canada. Maybe people are sick of wearing those dumb glasses. That translated into a $90.1M weekend domestic – a far cry from the $100M weekend which Disney was expecting or the $114M which Pirates 3 did in 2007 for the first 3 days of the Memorial long weekend. I hear Pirates 4 cost in the neighborhood of $250 million to make and another $170M to market worldwide. But a derivative and lackluster U.S. promotional campaign didn’t help. (Recruited to help newbie MT Carney was vet Val Van Galder, a mistake.) Then again, reviews for Rob Marshall’s direction ranged from bad to mediocre after fans were already disappointed with the threequel from Gore Verbinski (who helmed the Pirates trilogy). However, CinemaScore was a B+, indicating moviegoers liked #4. Or maybe just those mermaid scenes.
For over 2,000 midnight locations, Pirates 4 opened to a hefty $4.7M, beating the previous midnights for Disney’s own Alice In Wonderland and well as new Summer 2011 blockbusters Fast Five and Thor. Disney released On Stranger Tides into 4,155 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, of which 2,747 are 3D locations including 256 IMAX (an IMAX domestic record). But interestingly, a survey by big online movie ticketseller Fandango found 61% of more than 2,000 ticketbuyers picked Johnny Depp’s new love interest Penelope Cruz as primary reason to attend, while only 29% selected 3D as a main factor. It won’t help that the new installment will have to contend with Hangover Part 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2 this coming Memorial weekend so rival studios think Pirates 4 will have a tough road to reach the $300M domestic of all three prior films.
That may not matter because Disney is confident it can pass the $670M of Pirates 3 now that Pirates 4 scored the best 5-day international opening of the franchise and the 4th biggest global cume. As a Disney exec acknowledged to me, “It’s a summer popcorn four-quadrant pic and U.S. audiences know what they’re getting. But internationally, there’s no denying it’s more important than ever and Johnny’s global appeal will definitely help us as well as the addition of Penelope in Europe (and the rest of world) certainly won’t hurt.”
The 2011 Summer Movie Season began its blockbuster rollout overseas with both Fast Five and Thor opening first abroad and establishing their box office bonafides before coming to North America. Disney did the same — and foreign saved this pic. Pirates 4‘s international grosses overwhelmed the results of Pirates 3 in most of the 70 foreign markets where Russia had the biggest opening day ($5M) and the biggest opening weekend ($28.6M) of all time but also big grosses in China, India, Brazil, Latin America Middle East, Norway, & Turkey. Russia is where 3D continues to play huge and star Johnny Depp showed up for the premiere. In the first 3 days of release, the film took in foreign of $92.1M which was 8% higher than Pirates 3, as Wednesday opened in 33% of the international market, Thursday 32%, and Friday 35%. Adding in Saturday and Sunday, the foreign total expanded into not just the biggest opening of 2011 but the #1 biggest 5-day international opening of $256.3M (beating Harry Potter 6‘s $236M) and the #4 biggest global opening of all time with $346.4M (behind Harry Potter 6, Spidey 3, and Pirates 3). This shattered the IMAX global record with $16.7 million on 394 screens.
2. Bridesmaids (Universal) Week 2 [2,937 Theaters]
Friday $6.4M, Saturday $8.2M, Weekend $21M (-20%), Cume $59.5M
Universal’s R-rated female comedy Bridesmaids is enjoying an exceptional hold at the start of its 2nd weekend. Elated Universal execs reached all the way back to New Line’s The Wedding Crashers to find an R-rated comedy with anywhere near a comparable hold.
3. Thor 3D (Marvel/Disney/Paramount) Week 3 [3,924 Theaters]
Friday $4.3M, Saturday $6.5M, Weekend $15.5M (-54%), Cume $145.4M
The Norse god came into its 3rd weekend with $238M international. Paramount grossed another $9M for Thor this weekend from 60 overseas markets bringing the foreign cume to $247M after 4 weekend in release. The movie’s opening in Japan is still to come this July. The biggest contribution this weekend came from China, UK & Ireland, and Mexico.
4. Fast Five (Universal) Week 4 [3,622 Theaters]
Friday $3.1M, Saturday $4.4M, Weekend $10.6M, Cume $186.2M
This streetracing turned heist film crossed $300M at the international box office on Friday and $500M worldwide on Sunday for a global cume of $506.2M for Fast Five in 61 territories. It held strong in 2nd place overseas with what the studio said were smaller drops than expected.
5. Rio 3D (Blue Sky Studio/Fox) Week 6 [2,593 Theaters]
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $2M, Weekend $4.6M, Cume $131.6M
6. Priest 3D (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 2 [2,864 Theaters]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.6M (-69%), Cume $23.7M
7. Jumping The Broom (TriStar/Sony) Week 3 [1,472 Theaters]
Friday $1M, Saturday $1.7M, Weekend $3.7M, Cume $31.3M
8. Something Borrowed (Warner Bros) Week 3 [2,606 Theaters]
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.3M, Weekend $3.4M, Cume $31.4M
9. Water For Elephants (Fox 2000/Fox) Week 5 [1,894 Theaters]
Friday $660K, Saturday $900K, Weekend $2.1M, Cume $52.4M
10. Madea’s Big Happy Family (Lionsgate) Week 5 [912 Theaters]
Friday $280K, Saturday $476K, Weekend $1M, Cume $51.7M
Meanwhile, Woody Allen’s newest romantic comedy, Midnight In Paris, scored an awesome per screen average of $92,457 total from just 6 locations for Friday’s tally of $171K and Saturday $213K. Weekend is $564K for Sony Pictures Classics. Meanwhile, Mel Gibson’s acting comeback movie wasn’t. The Beaver from Summit Entertainment and Participant Media presentation in association with Imagenation Abu Dhabi is starting to expand in North American but made only $190K playing at 168 theaters this weekend for a paltry per theater average of $1,131. Estimated cume to date is $582K in limited release.
2ND UPDATE, FRIDAY 8:30 AM: I just heard the early number for over 2,000 midnight locations of Pirates 4 are coming in from North America, and it’s a hefty $4.7M. It beats the previous midnights for Disney’s own Alice In Wonderland and well as new Summer 2011 blockbusters Fast Five and Thor. Disney is releasing Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides into 4,155 theaters today in the U.S. and Canada, of which 2,747 are 3D locations including 256 IMAX (an IMAX domestic record). According to big online movie ticketseller Fandango, Pirates 4 is scooping up 81% of all sales as of 9 AM this morning, with Universal’s holdover Bridesmaids in second place with 8% and Marvel/Disney/Paramount’s Thor with 2% entering its 3rd week. Interestingly, a Fandango survey of more than 2,000 Pirates 4 ticketbuyers found that 61% picked Johnny Depp’s new love interest in the movie Penelope Cruz as a main reason to attend, while only 29% selected 3D as a main factor.
Meanwhile, rival studios are expecting Pirates 4 to open a notch behind Pirates 3 which did $114 million for the first 3 days of the Memorial long weekend in 2007 despite those higher 3D ticket prices which will allow it to beat Fast Five as the biggest opening of 2011 so far. Projections are for the pic to open between $90-$100 million, with Disney counting on a $100+M debut. But reviews so far have been soft coming on the heels of fan disappointment with the franchise’s 2007 threequel. Plus, the new installment will have to contend with Hangover 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2 the following Memorial weekend so rival studios think Pirates 4 will have a tough road to reach the $300M domestic of all three prior films. That may not matter because Disney is confident it can pass the $670M of Pirates 3 now that international numbers are coming in stronger than hoped for because of 3D and the star power of Johnny Depp.
“Rivals are right about the reviews,” a Disney exec acknowledged to me, “but it’s a summer popcorn four-quadrant pic and U.S. audiences know what they’re getting. We’ll see what CinemaScore says tonight. But internationally, there’s no denying it’s more important than ever and Johnny’s global appeal will definitely help us as well as the addition of Penelope in Europe (and the rest of world) certainly won’t hurt.” It also remains to be seen if new director Rob Marshall can top Gore Verbinski who helmed the Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy.
UPDATE, FRIDAY 8 AM: Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides made $25.7M Thursday in 27 new territories taking its two-day total to $44.2M. That’s 10% higher than the Pirates 3 installment.
THURSDAY 7 AM: The 2011 Summer Movie Season began its blockbuster rollout overseas this time around. Fast Five and Thor both opened first abroad and established its box office bonafides before coming to North America. And now it’s Disney’s turn: by the time Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens in 4,155 North American theaters on Friday, it will already have had debuts in 70 countries. Right now, the internationally set movie is scoring huge in the first 10 countries it opened Wednesday, posting $18.5M. This tops the $12.3M logged by Pirates 3 from 16 territories by 50%. True, a big question mark has been whether this franchise is played out, especially after the last installment was excoriated by reviewers and fans, but then sequels always perform better internationally than in the U.S. and Canada.
So far Pirates 4 has the biggest opening day ever in Russia with an industry record-breaker there of RBL130M/$5M beating the previous high set by Twilight (RBL122M). This is 125% ahead of Alice In Wonderland and 78% ahead of Pirates 3. France took in €2.1M/$3.1M, which is 17% of Pirates 3 and 10% ahead of Alice In Wonderland. That’s not surprising since the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last Saturday and star Johnny Depp lives in that country. There also were very strong starts in the UK, Italy, and Sweden. UK registered £2.0M/$3.2M, just 1% behind Pirates 3.
Disney is looking for a big global first weekend with 65% of the foreign markets opening before the U.S. opens Friday. In total, Pirates 4 is debuting in more than 70 countries for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.On Wednesday, the fourquel opened in 33% of the international market: UK (with a big premiere attended by tens of thousands of fans), Russia (following Depp’s first-ever trip for the Moscow premiere), France (fresh off Cannes), Italy, Belgium, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Taiwan. On Thursday (32% of market), its Germany (premiere in Munich this past week), Australia (Geoffrey Rush went to Australia premiere after Cannes), Korea, Austria, Denmark, Turkey, Holland, and Argentina. Friday (remaining 35%) will be U.S., Canada, Japan, Mexico, Spain (Madrid premiere last night with Spanish-born star Penelope Cruz), and China, as well as 44 minor territories.