Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opening day collects $35 million, looks on course to $86 million weekend.

It's a $35 million opening Friday for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  That's expectedly below the opening Fridays for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($55 million - a record at the time) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ($42 million, despite $13 million in Thursday night sneaks).  The film pulled in about 13% of its Friday total in midnight screenings ($4.7 million), which is slightly less than the 16% midnight haul of Dead Man's Chest ($9 million of its $55 million Friday), even though Dead Man's Chest obviously pulled in more midnight cash overall.  Considering inflation and 3D/IMAX ticket price bumps, it stands to reason that attendance was way down compared to the prior sequels.  As it is, the second film (the only prior entry up to now with a pure Fri-Sun opening weekend) had a 2.4x weekend multiplier, which led to a then-record $135 million opening weekend.  If the sequel follows suit, we get the predicted $86 million opening haul.  The third film is a more difficult comparison.  If you purely count Fri-Sun, it had a 2.7 weekend multiplier ($114 million for Fri-Sun), which would give the fourth film $96 million for the weekend.  But At World's End made $13 million on those Thursday night sneaks, meaning that it basically made $56 million on its first 1.25 days.  Using that, it means that the film pulled in over 1/2 its opening weekend in just the first 1.25 days (and then it did another $25 million on Memorial Day Monday).  So the safest bet is to split the pure Fri-Sun difference, hope for strong kiddie-driven matinée attendance (poor kids...), and guess a 2.55 weekend multiplier, which will give the film $89 million for the weekend, good enough for 2011's top opening haul thus far.  In better news for humanity, Bridesmaids only dropped about 18% from last weekend (about $6 million), setting it on course for a $20 million second weekend.

Scott Mendelson    

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