Weekend Box Office: ‘Pirates’ Breaks International Record

Apparently, the U.S. is the only nation to recognize how low the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ series has fallen. Despite opening domestically with only $90.1 million ($25 million below the opening of 2007’s ‘At World’s End‘), the latest franchise entry broke the record previously set by ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‘ for the highest-grossing overseas opening with $256.3 million.

In the comments of last week’s Box Office post, one reader questioned how much the additional cost of 3D ticket prices affects box office totals. To give you a feel for how much the extra cost helps, according to Box Office Mojo’s weekend report, ‘On Stranger Tides‘ ranks #12 for highest-grossing domestic May opening. With more than half of its showings on 3D screens, Box Office Mojo estimates the film’s overall attendance for a domestic May opening at #27. I’m no good with numbers, so you do the math.

Showing on only six screens across the nation, Woody Allen’s romantic comedy ‘Midnight in Paris‘ impressively opened in the #12 spot with $579,000. It averaged $96,500 for each screen over the weekend. ‘Pirates’ only averaged $21,685 per screen – and that number even includes the more expensive 3D tickets!

Showing impressive stamina, ‘Bridesmaids‘ stayed in the #2 spot. It grossed another $21 million in its second weekend. Down only 19.8% from last week, ‘Bridesmaids’ has almost doubled its $32.5 million budget with a total domestic gross of $59.5 million.

Next weekend ought to be an interesting one. With the lowest Tomato Meter rating of the franchise, can ‘On Stranger Tides’ carry its own against fellow 3D sequel ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’? And will ‘The Hangover Part II’ be as successful as ‘Bridesmaids’, which has been described as “the female Hangover”?

Top 10:

1. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ (Buena Vista) – $90.1 million

2. ‘Bridesmaids (Universal) – $21 million

3. ‘Thor’ (Paramount) – $15.5 million

4. ‘Fast Five’ (Universal) – $10.6 million

5. ‘Rio’ (Fox) – $4.6 million

6. ‘Priest’ (Screen Gems) – $4.6 million

7. ‘Jumping the Broom’ (Tri Star) – $3.7 million

8. ‘Something Borrowed’ (Warner Bros.) – $3.4 million

9. ‘Water for Elephants’ (Fox) – $2.1 million

10. ‘Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family’ (Lionsgate) – $990,000


  1. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention to numbers recently, but it should say something about either the unwillingness of Americans to go to movies or the quality of the crap being put out by Hollywood if we have a movie in the top ten that grossed less than a million dollars.

  2. TJ Kats

    Hangover 2 does look awful. I think I have have laughed once or twice during the first one and this looks even worse. I actually feel bad that Bridesmaids keeps getting compared to the Hangover since it was actually funny.

  3. Oddly enough, The Hangover II is one of the few movies coming out this summer I have any interest in seeing at all…and I’ll probably skip it too if it gets horrible reviews.

    I have no desire whatsoever to sit through Pirates IV, Thor, Green Lantern, Captain America, X-Men, Transformers 3, or Rise of the Apes.

    I DO plan on seeing Super 8 and Harry Potter…but that may be it.

  4. vihdeeohfieuhl


    I’m not sure which movie you were watching when you viewed Pirates 4 for your review. I saw it over the weekend, and many of the things that you discuss in your review were completely false. There were literally 4-5 things that I remembered you talking about in your review that were completely different than what you suggested in your remarks. I’m not trying to argue subjectivity either. These are factual findings that directly contradict some of the statements you made about the film.

    I don’t know if you were sleepy or distracted, but you might owe it to yourself to give it another viewing. It looks like you missed the boat on it, because it’s easily the second best Pirates film, and the rest of the world apparently agrees wholeheartedly. Is it a very good, or even great film? Absolutely not, but it is perfectly fine summer escapist fare. It’s probably as good as many of the sequels we’re going to see this summer.

    I’m happy that the rest of the world was willing to give the Pirates franchise another chance after the abysmal third effort. I don’t know that this franchise deserves the all time worldwide opening weekend record, but I’m happy nonetheless.

    • To be fair, Luke actually did agree with you that On Stranger Tides was the second-best Pirates movie, but that’s not saying much.

      Luke isn’t exactly in a minority with his poor opinion of the movie. It’s currently at a miserable 33% on the Rotten Tomatoes index and 45% on Metacritic.

      What factual mistakes did you find in the review?

      • motorheadache

        Yeah, I didn’t find the movie horrible, I just thought it was thoroughly average. Even most of the people saying “it’s better than the last two” is more of an anti-part 2 and 3 statement than a pro-4 comment.

        Personally, I’m actually fan of all the previous films (mostly 1 and 2), but the best thing I can say about this latest film is it potentially sets up a more interesting fifth movie.

    • I understand the purpose of “summer escapist fare” – and I’m actually ok with it! I love a good popcorn movie. Hell, I gave ‘Unstoppable’ a great review! But the first ‘Pirates’ movie was far more than just a “summer escapist” film. It was fresh, original and creative – not to mention REALLY WELL DONE. But not a single one of the sequels has come close to matching the first. Ever since Christopher Nolan said something along the lines of “a sequel is not worth watching if it isn’t better than it predecessors,” I have adapted that philosophy. I *hoped* that ‘On Stranger Tides’ could have taken us back to the beginning, but it proved to be just like you said – a “summer escapist” film. I wanted more. And considering it made $25 million less domestically than ‘At World’s End,’ I’m saying the rest of America does too.

      As for factual errors, I don’t know what to say. Can you give me an example?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My favorite thing about commenting here on HDD is that (almost) all commenting is arguing the opinion and not bashing on the person expressing it. I love talking movies!

  5. Brian H

    For me the Pirates movies are akin to the Harry Potter movies- The movies should be good at interesting visuals and interesting (magical) worlds, but are bogged down by convoluted stories and an attempt to appeal to children through goofy characters and action sequences.

  6. Thank you for paying attention to what is said in the comments section (re: my pondering actual number of tickets purchased vs price…. 3-D, matinee, IMAX, etc). It’s great that your readers are allowed to be a part of the discussion and even sometimes influence topics on the site!

    Thank you for continuing to give insight into the realm of Blu-Ray as well as movies, tv and pop culture, and for allowing supportive and differing views/opinions as well!

  7. Brian H

    There are two things that struck me about the first Pirates films when recently watching them on blu ray. I’ll summaries both in the Jack Sparrow intro (Johnny depth is annoying but the character is introduced in an exemplary way). First, the dialogue is sharp- which really represents polish. “One pistol, without recharge of powder,” I mean in the subsequent three pirates films can you imagine any lines that feature such immediate allusion as the vendetta alluded here upon introduction of the character. Then there is the shot of Jack Sparrow confidently ready to disembark from the crow’s nest of a (as the panning shot reveals) sinking ship. These characteristics represent a script that was polished over many years time. The action set pieces and dialogue exchanges represent this whenever compared to subsequent films.

    Having praised the polish of the first film, let me point out another characteristic of the franchise. The latest film begins with two abhorrent sequences- first Jack Sparrow parades as a judge for some goofy, kiddy reason and then winds up either through luck or irony in front of the monarch at Buckingham. What is significant is that either through on location filming or through impeccable set design, you are seeing both the courtyard and innards of Buckingham palace.

    The first three pirates movies are set in such a wide aspect and with such amazing tropical locales that they are the default projector test films in my opinion (unless you are testing 3d projection for which you will need Tylenol, Advil, or maybe Nyquil.) Having seen the latest in 3d, the aspect may have been neutered for 3d, but still the locales or better than 007 or Indiana Jones films feature.

  8. I loved all three Pirates movies, another good trilogy IMO. What I expect out of a sequel is not something that completely TRUMPS the first, or 2nd if its a trilogy, but something that continues the adventure and brings more of what I loved from the one or ones before it.

    IMO Pirates did this with no problem, actually going even more epic with its subsequent films, Dead Man’s Chest is actually my favorite of the bunch, Davey Jones was an amazing character perfectly done by Bill Nighy with awesome FX work, the sound of the Kraken attacking, destroying the ship and the return of Barbosa was a complete surprise to me and the movie has held up quite well on multiple viewings.

    At Worlds End I’ve only seen twice so that one isnt as fresh with me, but its one long epic action/adventure flick which we simply dont get enough of anymore, it certainly trumps other attempts like Transformers 2 and even Indy 4 IMO. Sure it could have been better but I wasnt expecting BETTER, it was a great time and a good cap to end the series (well at the time), having it go further I’m not too sure about yet but it seems a lot of people havent found it too awesome, over seas though is another story, really surprised at how much cash it pulled in over there, must be a TON of fans for this franchise across the waters.

    I’ll be seeing it this weekend, so will have to make my comments then 🙂

  9. How does one make a TRILOGY and then come out with a 4th? I’ve always called it (Fill in the Blank Here): A quest for more money (sort of a takeoff from Spaceballs)
    Even with books it has happened to two series I have read.
    1) Inheritance trilogy (Started with Eragon) – not it’s called Inheritance Cycle to allow for 4th book
    2) Bartimaeus Trilogy – now the forth book is subtitled “A Bartimaeus Novel”