Box Office Results for May 20, 2011

This weekend, Johnny Depp and his jolly pals seized control of the North American box office with the adventure tentpole Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which registered the year’s biggest opening while internationally the latest Captain Jack saga commanded much more power smashing records with the largest overseas opening of all-time.  Most holdovers suffered large drops, however the hit comedy Bridesmaids took advantage of sensational buzz to post a fantastic hold putting it on track to break the $100M mark.

WALT DISNEY scored its first number one hit of the year with the fourth installment in the JERRY BRUCKHEIMER-produced Pirates of the Caribbean series, which opened with an estimated $90.1M from an ultrawide launch in 4,155 theaters for a mighty $21,685 average.  The PG-13 pic was the first in the franchise to be presented in Disney Digital 3D and the grosses were also helped by a record launch in 256 IMAX 3D locations, which charged as much as $20 per ticket.  Opening on the lower end of industry expectations, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides enjoyed the biggest opening of 2011 beating the $86.2M of last month’s Fast Five, which was only in 2D but did include IMAX sales.  But moviegoers were cautious with their dollars as less than half of the film’s weekend gross came from 3D screens with more opting for the 2D version.

The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides bow was down 22% from the $114.7M debut of the latest installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.  But the figure was part of the long Memorial Day holiday session and the film was the cliffhanger finale after 2006’s massively successful Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.  Widely disliked by many critics and fans, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End prompted many moviegoers to skip the new chapter, which also featured a new director in Rob Marshall and new cast members Penélope Cruz and Ian McShane, while bringing back fan favorites Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp, who stands to collect one of the largest compensation packages in Hollywood history since ticket buyers would not show up without him.  Reviews were mostly negative and a moderate B+ CinemaScore grade suggests that the road ahead should be on par with what tentpole sequels normally see.

Starting out the weekend, Friday took in $35M including $4.7M from Thursday night’s post-midnight shows.  Saturday dipped by only 8% to $32M – good for a poorly-reviewed fourth chapter of an action series – and Sunday is estimated to drop by only 28% to $23.1M.

What Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides lost out on domestically, it more than made up for in international waters, which have always been friendly to this franchise.  Since attacking its first wave of markets on Wednesday, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides grossed a stunning $256.3M over five days overseas setting a new all-time record by beating the five-day $236M launch WARNER BROS.Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from 2009.  Digital 3D and IMAX 3D certainly helped as did several star-studded red carpet premieres in Cannes, London, Madrid, Munich, and Moscow.  Russia, which is fast becoming one of Hollywood’s most important overseas markets, led all international territories with an eye-popping $28.6M over five days (an all-time industry record) which already is more than what Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End did there during the entire life of its run.  Look for more action tentpoles to plan premieres in the Russian capital.

Globally, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides hauled in a massive $346.4M since Wednesday making it the fourth largest worldwide launch of any film behind Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($394M), COLUMBIA and MARVEL‘s Spider-Man 3 ($381.6M), and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($357.2M).  It should be noted that these figures include openings on different days in different countries so they are not for the exact same time periods.

Clearly, WALT DISNEY was looking at the world and not specifically the U.S. when developing and marketing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  The first three films saw an increasing share of the global gross come from overseas from the 53% of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, to the 60% of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, to the 68% of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which cost a reported $250M to produce, will likely see more than 70% of its worldwide haul come from outside North America and another global tally north of $900M could certainly result.

The wedding comedy Bridesmaids officially became a sleeper hit thanks to its incredible second weekend hold. Kristen Wiig‘s raunchy R-rated pic dipped by only 20% and collected an estimated $21.1M lifting UNIVERSAL and APATOW‘s ten-day tally to a robust $59.5M. The sophomore gross was more than what most expected from the first weekend. The decline was less than those seen by past leggy R-rated comedies like NEW LINE‘s Wedding Crashers (24%), UNIVERSAL and APATOW’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin (24%), and WARNER BROS.’ The Hangover (27%). Instead, Bridesmaids drop was identical to the decline seen by DREAMWORKSOld School from 2003, which made 49% of its overall total in the first ten days, though it was earlier in the year when college students were in school during weekdays. The Kristen Wiig pic has the benefit of having a major holiday next weekend so it could be on course to finish with at least $125M giving UNIVERSAL its third $100M+ grosser in two months after Hop and Fast Five.

Rival action films fell sharply against Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which stole away numerous 3D and IMAX screens.  PARAMOUNT and MARVEL’s Thor dropped 55% in its third frame to an estimated $15.5M giving the super hero film $145.4M in 17 days.  The action sequel Fast Five raced past the $500M worldwide mark this weekend thanks to terrific business overseas.  Domestically, the UNIVERSAL hit grossed an estimated $10.6M, down 48%, pushing the 24-day sum to $186.2M.  Overseas markets kicked in an additional $25M this weekend putting the offshore tally at $320M bumping the global gross to a stellar $506.2M.

Finishing in fifth was the 3D toon Rio with an estimated $4.7M, down 44%, for a $131.6M total for BLUE SKYSCREEN GEMS‘ supernatural action thriller Priest collapsed in its second weekend tumbling 69% to an estimated $4.6M, giving the vampire pic $23.7M in ten days.  A $30M final seems likely.

A two-pack of wedding comedies followed.  Off 48%, Jumping the Broom grossed an estimated $3.7M for TRISTAR and OUR STORIES while Something Borrowed fell 50% for WARNER BROS. and ALCON.  Totals are nearly identical after 17 days standing at $31.3M and $31.4M, respectively.

The FOX 2000 romance Water for Elephants placed ninth with an estimated $2.2M, down 49%, giving the Reese WitherspoonRobert Pattinson film $52.4M to date.  Rounding out the top ten was LIONSGATE and TYLER PERRY‘s comedy Madea’s Big Happy Family, which dropped 55% to an estimated $1M for $51.8M overall.

Making a spectacular debut in platform release was Woody Allen‘s latest romantic comedy Midnight in Paris, which opened in the number twelve spot nationwide despite playing in only six theaters.  The SONY CLASSICS release collected an estimated $579,000 for a jaw-dropping average of $96,500.  Starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, and Adrien Brody, the PG-13 film opened only in four New York houses and a pair of Los Angeles sites and earned glowing reviews from critics.  All theaters had multiple screens offering up to 20 showtimes daily, Midnight in Paris expands to 29 more theaters on Friday for the holiday weekend including markets such as San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, and Washington D.C.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $156.8M, which was up 11% from last year when PARAMOUNT PICTURES and DREAMWORKS ANIMATION STUDIOSShrek Forever After opened in the top spot with $70.8M; but down 7% from 2009 when 20TH CENTURY FOX‘s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian debuted at number one with $54.2M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion of the Memorial Day holiday session.  Over the whole weekend though, it made $70.05M.

May 20, 2011 to May 22, 2011 Top Ten

1.   Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

  • $90,100,000
  • Walt Disney Pictures (Disney) and Jerry Bruckheimer Films

2.   Bridesmaids

  • $21,058,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBC Universal) and Apatow Productions

3.   Thor

  • $15,500,000
  • a Paramount release (Viacom)
  • Marvel Studios (Disney)

4.   Fast Five

  • $10,631,000
  • Universal Pictures (NBC Universal)

5.   Rio

  • $4,650,000
  • Blue Sky Studios (Fox)

6.   Priest

  • $4,600,000
  • Screen Gems (Sony)

7.   Jumping the Broom

  • $3,700,000
  • TriStar Pictures (Sony) and Our Stories Films (The Weinstein Company)

8.   Something Borrowed

  • 3,425,000
  • a Warner Bros. release (Time Warner)
  • Alcon Entertainment

9.   Water for Elephants

  • $2,150,000
  • Fox 2000 Pictures (Fox)

10. Madea’s Big Happy Family

  • $990,000
  • Lionsgate (Lions Gate Entertainment) and Tyler Perry Studios

May 21, 2010 to May 23, 2010 Top Ten

1.   Shrek Forever After

  • $70,838,000
  • a Paramount release (Viacom)
  • DreamWorks Animation Studios (DreamWorks SKG)

2.   Iron Man 2

  • $26,361,000
  • a Paramount release (Viacom)
  • Marvel Studios (Disney)

3.   Robin Hood

4.   Letters to Juliet

5.   Just Wright

6.   MacGruber

  • $4,043,000
  • a Universal release (NBC Universal)
  • Rogue Pictures (Relativity Media)

7.   Date Night

  • $2,914,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox)

8.   A Nightmare on Elm Street

  • $2,321,000
  • New Line Cinema (Time Warner)

9.   How to Train Your Dragon

  • $1,901,000
  • a Paramount release (Viacom)
  • DreamWorks Animation Studios (DreamWorks SKG)

10. Kites

May 22, 2009 to May 24, 2009 Top Ten

1.   Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

  • $70,052,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox)

2.   Terminator Salvation

3.   Star Trek

4.   Angels & Demons

  • $27,414,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony) and Imagine Entertainment

5.   Dance Flick

6.   X-Men Origins: Wolverine

  • $9,911,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox) and Marvel Studios (Marvel Entertainment)

7.   Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

  • $4,768,000
  • New Line Cinema (Time Warner)

8.   Obsessed

  • $2,424,000
  • Screen Gems (Sony)

9.   Monsters vs. Aliens

  • $2,061,000
  • DreamWorks Animation Studios (Viacom)

10. 17 Again

  • $1,293,000
  • New Line Cinema (Time Warner)
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~ by Matt Whitfield on May 23, 2011.

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