Pirates of the Caribbean sequel steals North American box office title

Danny Woods
June 4, 2017

With $18.1 million, the movie had the biggest opening weekend ever in the country of Russian Federation, according to state sponsored media and the Exhibitor Relations twitter account. Baywatch opens in earnest overseas next week. Given that Paramount Pictures has plans for a sequel, the studio will be hoping its worldwide receipts will be strong enough to keep the franchise afloat.

Directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, the film stars Johnny Depp, Kevin McNally, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley in key roles. "That is extraordinary by any measure", Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis told THR.

Meanwhile, Baywatch is treading water with a 19% rating.

The film, which is the fifth outing in the "Pirates" series, has lagged in its domestic market, posting mediocre numbers in the United States, but it's been a hit with global audiences. The critically derided update of the 1990s TV show earned only US$18.1 million over the weekend against a almost US$70 million price tag. The film took in an estimated $23 million, with an estimated gross of $27.6 million from its Thursday opening.

Another Disney film, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2", placed a distant second with $27.2 million.

The "Baywatch" miss could be attributable to a couple of factors.

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Per ComScore, overall box office is up 2.3 percent in the same frame from a year ago. "U.S. audiences have been subjected to so many sequels over the decades that it is hard to maintain the excitement", Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, told CNBC.

This month's box office has also been tough on almost every film except Guardians of the Galaxy. R-rated comedy "Baywatch" belly-flopped in its debut, earning only about $18 million.

"Baywatch doesn't stand alone as a casualty in this marketplace, " Dergarabedian said. "It's joining a cadre of other films that have underperformed".

Beauty in the Beast, still lingering in the top ten after almost three months, earned $1.9 million over the long weekend, bringing its domestic total to $500.9 million.

Ridley Scott's "Alien: Covenant", last week's box-office leader, dropped off sharply to fourth place during the Memorial Day weekend. With a competitive summer movie season ahead, it remains to be seen if these Marvel heroes will be able to surpass $1 billion at the box office.

The next month brings "Wonder Woman", "The Mummy", another "Transformers" movie, and another "Spider Man" Movie. After the last chapter opened to $90.2 million, had a domestic finish of $241 million and a global take of over a billion dollars, the project somehow still smacked of failure.

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