After a six-year hiatus, Jack Sparrow and company return Memorial Day weekend in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The Disney property represents the fifth pic in the 14 year-old franchise with Johnny Depp returning in the role that made him a global box office superpower (at least for a while). Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg are new directors to the series. Costars include Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, and apparently Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley reprising their roles (they sat out the fourth edition). Even Paul McCartney is said to have a cameo!
While Disney has been printing money with their Star Wars, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Pixar, and live-action animated reboots, Pirates is more of a risk. First, there’s the massive reported $320 million price tag. Then there’s the matter of Depp not being the draw he once was (tabloid fodder hasn’t helped much). It was just during the last Memorial Day weekend that the Depp/Disney combo resulted in the flop of Alice Through the Looking Glass.
And there’s genuine curiosity as to whether the franchise has run low on steam. Let’s take a trip down Sparrow’s box office memory lane, shall we?
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Opening Weekend: $46.6 million; Overall Domestic Gross: $305.4 million
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
Opening Weekend: $135.6 million; Overall Domestic Gross: $423.3 million
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
Opening Weekend: $114.7 million; Overall Domestic Gross: $309.4 million
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Opening Weekend: $90.1 million; Overall Domestic Gross: $241 million
As you can see, the Pirates saga hit its high mark over a decade ago and the last entry in 2011 posted the lowest total domestic earnings. I believe the days of Pirates making $100 million in a weekend are over. Even though it shouldn’t have much trouble at all placing first over the holiday weekend, I’ll predict a four-day gross in the high 70s to low 80s is most likely.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opening weekend prediction: $78.6 million (Friday to Monday estimate)
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