Despite any talk of franchise fatigue at the domestic box office, or a splattering from Rotten Tomatoes, the larger story for Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is told in its global tally, which as of this morning has a worldwide start of $326 million, the 20th-best worldwide debut of all time.
According to Deadline film finance sources, the consensus is that Pirates 5 is looking forward to an estimated profit north of $280M after all revenue streams are tabulated. This is based off an industry-projected final global box office haul of $850M. Keep in mind, Japan hasn’t opened yet, and that territory delivered the franchise’s best grosses out of any foreign country — re On Stranger Tides ($91M), At World’s End ($91M) and the first movie Curse Of The Black Pearl ($60M). Disney always knew that domestic wasn’t going to be that strong for Dead Men Tell No Tales, especially after On Stranger Tides six years ago delivered only 23% of its $1.045 billion global tally from domestic.
Our profit estimations for Pirates 5 aren’t attributed to Disney sources.
The added win here for Disney with Pirates 5 is how the $4.05 billion Pirates series spurs its theme park and merchandise businesses, something other major studios can’t count on with their franchises. Recently, the Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association attributed the $118 billion made in 2016 movie/entertainment global retail toy revenue to the year-round sale of Star Wars product for The Force Awakens and Rogue One. We currently hear that Pirates Of The Caribbean merchandise revenue is estimated at $65M (some think that number is too low), with Asian venues like Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland key drivers.
With these long-in-the-tooth franchises waning sequel by sequel at the domestic B.O. — think Pirates, Transformers, Fast And The Furious — it’s the burgeoning markets and emerging middle classes overseas that enable Hollywood to keep making these tentpoles, even as U.S./Canada audiences arguably lose interest as underscored by their wallets. When building these titles financially, the majors acknowledge that the U.S. represents 4% of the world’s 7.5 billion population.
With $180.7M over four days, the just-ended Memorial Day weekend was the lowest in two decades, down 42% from the 2013 high of $314.2M. Versus last year, close to $25M was missing from this year’s holiday marketplace thanks to the soft Pirates 5 opening ($78.4M over four days) and Baywatch‘s blowout ($27.7M over five days). A month ago, both were projected at $90M-$100M and $45M-$50M, respectively in their openings, but when sour Rotten Tomatoes scores hit, it impacted both pics’ estimates.
In all fairness to Disney, Pirates 5 pulled in $1.6M less than the lower end of its last recorded tracking of $80M last week.
Some have argued not to lump Pirates 5 and Baywatch in the same sentence in the Memorial Day frame; the latter is bound to lose significantly more money. But the bigger point here is the overall franchise fatigue taking place stateside following last weekend’s $36.1M start for Alien: Covenant (Baywatch, had it worked, would have certainly been a new cinematic series). Wonder Woman, though connected to DC, offers something new and fresh to moviegoers in that it’s arguably the first female comic-book superhero property to work onscreen. The Rotten Tomatoes rating for the Gal Gadot movie is currently at 97% off 64 reviews, and if that score can maintain itself, it could potentially push the pic’s domestic opening to $95M — though Warner Bros still sees it between $65M-$75M.
In recent years, Disney is the only major studio in town that can win on all fronts with its Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, live action-group and animation labels: beaming A- or higher CinemaScores, awesome B.O. results, and glorious certified ruby red Rotten Tomatoes ratings. Truly, they are the envy of all. However, stateside critics have loathed Pirates since the second installment, with the most recent one registering the lowest at 31% Rotten, and Disney has yet to turn that boat around. Of the five movies, Pirates 5 reps the fourth-best stateside opening. Some attribute the ease here to marketing, others to Johnny Depp and his controversial image which can turn off moms, but the fact is that at the end of this weekend, Disney is yo-ho-ho-ing all the way to the bank.
Pirates 5 also assisted in propelling the Burbank studio past the $1 billion mark stateside, the first of any major this year, and $3 billion globally.
While box office analysts love to take digs that this summer at $777.9M is down 9% versus last year through its first four weekends, and that Memorial Day was in shambles, overall the theatrical marketplace in the U.S. and Canada this year is healthy, counting $4.4B to date per comScore, 2% ahead of 2016’s banner year which yielded $11.4B.
Scroll down to see this weekend’s Memorial Day actual box office figures.
‘Pirates’ Tells Profit Tale
Final weekend actuals for Memorial Day weekend, per ComScore
1.). Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (DIS), 4,276 theaters / 3-day cume: $62.9M / Per screen average: $$14,729 / 4-day cume: $78.4M / Per screen: $18,353 / Wk 1
2.). The Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (DIS), 3,871 theaters (-476) / 3-day cume: $20.9M / Per screen: $5,401 / 4-day cume: $27.1M / Per screen: $7,024 / Total cume: $340.5M / Wk 4
3.). Baywatch (PAR), 3,647 theaters / 3-day cume: $18.5M / Per screen: $5,074/ 4-day cume: $23.1M / Per screen: $6,336 / Total cume: $27.7M (Wednesday bow) / Wk 1
4.). Alien: Covenant (FOX), 3,772 theaters (+11) / 3-day cume: $10.6M (-71%) / Per screen: $2,814 / 4-day cume: $13.3M / Per screen: $3,548 / Total cume: $60.2M / Wk 2
5.). Everything, Everything (WB/MGM), 2,801 theaters / 3-day cume: $6M (-49%) / Per screen: $2,148 / 4-day cume: $7.6M / Per screen: $2,737 / Total cume: $23M / Wk 2
6.). Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (FOX), 3,174 theaters (+17) / 3-day cume: $4.47M (-37%) / Per screen: $1,409 / 4-day cume: $6.1M / Per screen: $1,929 / Total cume: $15.3M / Wk 2
7.). Snatched (FOX), 2,658 theaters (-853) / 3-day cume: $3.9M / Per screen: $1,497 / 4-day cume: $5M / Per screen: $1,913 / Total cume: $41.3M / Wk 3
8.). King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (WB/VR), 2,503 theaters (-1,199) / 3-day cume: $3.3M / Per screen: $1,319 / 4-day cume: $4.3M / Per screen: $1,719 / Total: $34.9M / Wk 3
9.) The Boss Baby (Fox) 1,342 (-729), 3-day cume: $1.7M / Per screen: $1,286 / 4-day cume: $2.4M / Total cume: $169.7M / Wk 9
10). Beauty And The Beast (DIS), 1,076 theaters (-716) / 3-day cume: $1.4M / Per screen: $1,360 / 4-day cume: $2M / Per screen: $1,872 / Total cume: $501M / Wk 11
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