Disney’s ‘Pirates’ Leads Box Office While Missing Expectations
(Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co.’s fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie led the holiday-weekend box office in its debut as expected, yet still faces a steep climb to financial success.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” again starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, garnered North American sales of $62.2 million over the first three days of the U.S. Memorial Day weekend, researcher ComScore Inc. estimated Sunday in an email. That was less than the $68.5 million that BoxOfficePro.com had expected. The movie beat the new Paramount Pictures comedy “Baywatch,” which placed third with an estimated $18.1 million.
With a production budget estimated at $230 million and tens of millions more in promotional costs, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” will need to be a hit at home and internationally for Disney, which has suggested this will be the last picture in the series. International sales of $208 million has pushed the movie’s total to $285 million, Disney said in an email.
The franchise has now generated $4 billion in worldwide ticket sales, showing that there is “so much love from the fan community," David Hollis, executive vice president of distribution at Disney, said in an interview Sunday. "There’s a real audience here."
In the latest film, Depp’s anti-hero pirate Sparrow is searching for the legendary Trident of Poseidon, which can save him from deadly ghost sailors bent on mayhem. Javier Bardem joins the cast as vengeful Captain Salazar who leads the ghouls. Paul McCartney is featured as Sparrow’s uncle.
Disney, based in Burbank, California, was expecting the movie to generate sales in the mid-$70 million range in U.S. and Canadian theaters through Monday, down from a previous forecast of $80 million. Analysts at BoxOfficePro.com were predicting $83 million over four days. That would put the new “Pirates” behind three of the previous four pictures, even while marking one of the top openings of 2017.
The film is likely to yield less than $200 million through its domestic run in theaters, according to Shawn Robbins at BoxOfficePro. Critics savaged the movie, giving only 30 percent positive reviews, according to Rottentomatoes.com.
“Baywatch” is an R-rated revival of a TV series from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount division. BoxOfficeMojo predicted $23 million over three days for the picture, which cost $69 million to make.
Dwayne Johnson plays the devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon, who clashes with the brash rookie Matt Brody, played by Zac Efron. The duo must solve a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the bay. Critics didn’t like “Baywatch” either; it got only 19 percent positive reviews, according to Rottentomatoes.com.