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Pirates set for a Memorable Memorial Day

May 24th, 2007

For the third time in four weeks there will be another $100 million opening. It's strange, for four years after Spider-Man set the record, no film matched its record-setting debut. In fact, no film really came that close. However, in the past 12 months, three films have topped that mark and another film will do the same this weekend.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End looks to become the biggest hit of the year and is opening on what is often times the biggest weekend of the year. Not only that, it the follow-up to the running away winner of last year's box office race. Additionally, not only was Dead Man's Chest easily the best box office performer of 2006, it also ended in a cliffhanger and that should help pack people into theaters as they want to see the conclusion.

On the other hand, there are some issues that may hold the movie back, not the least of which are the reviews, not only those earned by At World's End, but those Dead Man's Chest earned as well. The original earned overwhelmingly positive, which helped it earned some of the best legs seen by a blockbuster in a long time. However, Dead Man's Chest saw a serious drop-off in critical acclaim falling below the overall positive level. This not only hurt its final box office number somewhat, but more importantly, it will hurt Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End as well. Those that were disappointed with the previous installment might give this one a pass, or at least wait until the home market to see it. Unfortunately, the reviews for this film didn't improve beyond the mixed level, but at least they are not substantially worse either.

The negatives will prevent it from topping Spider-man 3's recent weekend record, but they are still outweighed by the positives. Look for the film to make just over $130 million from Friday to Sunday, just under $30 million on Monday, and roughly $9 million for Thursday evening's early shows. For a total of $169 million from now till Monday night. This is a little more bullish than most analysts, but as we've learned so far this month, don't underestimate the power of the blockbuster.

Agree? Disagree? Willing to walk the plank to see this movie? Then check out our latest box office contest.

(One final warning, for the box office prediction contest we are only interested in the three-day weekend from Friday to Sunday. We won't be including the Thursday's shows that start before midnight or the Monday shows. Please take that into account for your predictions.)

After beating expectations last weekend, Shrek the Third hopes to set more records this weekend, including best second weekend. In order to accomplish this feat, the film has to avoid a drop-off of 40% over the 3-day period and given the film's target audience and the holidays, I would have thought this would be an easy task. However, the reviews are not nearly as strong as the previous installments and that will hurt its chances. In fact, there are more than a couple of analysts who don't think the film will pull in $72 million over 4-days. I think it will, but not by a large margin. Give it $75 million over 4 days and $225 million in total.

Next up is Spider-man 3 as the first blockbuster of the summer charges toward $300 million. It should make it there with little trouble, despite the increased competition and the loss of 600 theaters. With the holidays the film should pull in just under $19 million over 4 days, nearly twice as much as it needs to reach its milestone.

The only other wide release of the week is Bug, which thanks to the weakness of the previous counter-programming should catch fourth place. However, opening with mixed reviews, in less than 1700 theaters, and with an ad campaign that can best be described as absent. Even so, it should still pull in $5 million from Friday to Monday, perhaps a little bit more.

There should be a close battle for fifth place between 28 Weeks Later and Disturbia, both of which should pull in just over $3 million. For 28 Weeks Later it's a disappointing run so far while for Disturbia it is pure profit at this point.

Finally, Waitress again looks to climb into the top ten. This time it is expanding into more than 500 theater and should be able to pull in between $2 million and $3 million, which means it could score a surprise fifth place finish.


Filed under: Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Disturbia, Waitress, Bug, 28 Weeks Later