Box Office: ‘On Stranger Tides’ Steals $90m in Pirate Booty

By  · Published on May 22nd, 2011

They set sail. They walked the plank. They scuttled some…things you might scuttle. And in the end, whether it lived up to expectations of analysts or the openings for the previous two films, Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger Tides ripped into theaters with an impressive debut. Unlike Dead Man’s Chest or At World’s End, this fourth entry in the Disney franchise didn’t smash any records, but it ranked fairly well on charts such as biggest May opening and biggest opening day gross.

Where On Stranger Tides goes from here is curious. The film ended up costing a reported $250 million despite Disney’s claims they were “cutting back” on the visual grandeur and overall budget. Regardless, the film has already punched out $346.4 million in worldwide ticket sales, so the future seems to be in order for Captain Jack Sparrow to return for Pirates 5.

Bridesmaids had a very impressive second weekend drop. Only 19.8% less than what it made its opening weekend, it was able to overtake Thor for the #2 spot and go way past its $32.5-million price tag. With reports and rumors that Paul Feig would be interested in a Bridesmaids 2, it would seem likely Universal is thinking the same thing. They may be holding off to see how well The Hangover 2 does next weekend before deciding to green light an R-rated comedy sequel.

Regarding Thor, it had a fairly sizable drop here in its third weekend of release, possibly an indicator that movie going audiences have quickly moved on from comic book gods to swashbuckling pirates. Still, Thor has nearly reached $150 million in domestic sales, and its worldwide total is at $382.8, well past double its reported $150-million budget.

It should be noted the incredibly impressive opening for Woody Allen’s latest film, Midnight in Paris. It opened on six screens but was able to generate a whopping $96,500 per screen bringing its weekend total to $579,000. That puts it 15 on the list of biggest per theater averages in history, a ranking made all the more impressive when you consider 10 of the 14 films above it were Disney features. Needless to say, Midnight in Paris will be expanding across the nation in the coming weeks, and Allen, 45 years and 47 movies after he began, is still a notable filmmaker.

Here’s how the weekend broke down:

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $90.1m NEW
  2. Bridesmaids – $21m (-19.8%) $59.5m total
  3. Thor – $15.5m (-55.3%) $145.4m total
  4. Fast Five – $10.6m (-48%) $186.2m total
  5. Rio – $4.65m (-43.8%) $131.6m total
  6. Priest – $4.6m (-69.2%) $23.6m total
  7. Jumping the Broom – $3.7m (-47.6%) $31.3m total
  8. Something Borrowed – $3.4m (-50.2%) $31.4m total
  9. Water for Elephants – $2.1m (-48.8$) $52.4m total
  10. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family – $.9m (-55.3%) $51.7m total

The weekend total for these top 10 films comes to $157.5 million, an expected improvement over the beginning two weekends of Summer 2011 and the biggest weekend of the year so far. Pirates didn’t open quite as big as we were anticipating, but Bridesmaids’ second weekend take made up for some of that.

Next weekend should prove impressive for overall tickets sales, as well, with Pirates headed strong into its second weekend and two films on opposite sides of the demographic spectrum hitting wide release. Between Kung Fu Panda 2 and The Hangover 2, it’s going to be rather competitive.

We’ll be back on Thursday night to see how the weekend is shaping up.

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.