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Avast Ye Maties, Pirates Invade Record Book. Arrrr!

July 10th, 2006

We finally had a blockbuster live up to, and exceed its expectations. And with the record-destroying run of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest the total box office exploded to nearly $220 million, which was up 42% from last year and more than 46% from the same weekend last year. This total is the largest ever for a weekend breaking the previous record of $188 million, which was earned in June of 2004 when Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban opened. And overall, 2006's lead over 2005 grew from 3% to 5%, easily more than ticket price inflation.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest did well over the weekend. The film managed to finish first with $135.6 million, breaking several major record along the way. Biggest weekend, biggest opening weekend, biggest July weekend, biggest day, biggest opening day, biggest July day, biggest Friday, biggest Sunday (biggest Saturday is still held by Shrek 2 at $44.8 million), and fastest to $100 million. That last record was the only one where its victory was even close, as it earned $100.3 million over the first two days. Now that the film's record breaking opening is over, where does it go from here? That's the big question that no one really has an answer for.

You could do a bit of guessing and use the original as a guide. For instance, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl earned $13.5 million on its opening day and $305.4 million in total. Assuming the two films will have the same total to first day ratio gives Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest a total of $1.25 billion, and that's before international numbers. Obviously there's no chance that's going to happen. It won't even have the same first weekend to total ratio, a.k.a. multiplier, (nearly $900 million domestically). It would be amazing if it had the same multiplier as the previous weekend record holder, Spider-man, (which would give it a total of just over $475 million). $400 million is within reach, barely, with a worst case scenario being a multiplier lower than X-Men: The Last Stand managed for a total of about $305 million, almost exactly what the original earned in 2003. Reviews suggest it will finish somewhere in the lower end, but like we previously said, this is uncharted territory and it's all guesswork at the moment.

Superman Returns was only able to reach the lower end of expectations, again, as it pulled in $21.8 million over the weekend. Its total of $141.6 million would be great, had it not taken over $300 million to get into theatres (production budget, development cost, and P&A budget). Will the film show a profit? Yes. How long will it take? Possibly until its network debut. Is the film a success? Not really, but it could become one if the planned sequel takes off and the franchise is truly revitalized. But for that movie, they need a truly epic villain. Doomsday, perhaps.

The Devil Wears Prada just missed my high expectations with $15.0 million for the weekend, but its $63.1 million puts it on pace to hit $100 million, with a little help from the studio. Given its expected budget and the studio's share of the early box office, the film has already covered its production budget and a fair chunk of its P&A budget as well.

Click recovered this weekend, falling just 40% to $11.9 million as it became the 10th film to reach $100 million this year. The film should have a profitable run, but it won't be one of Adam Sandler's biggest hits.

Cars is still showing some life with a weekend take down a mere 26.32% to $10.7 million and $205.1 million in total. The film will top The Da Vinci Code shortly. The only question is whether Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest will beat it there.

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Filed under: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Cars, Superman Returns, Click, The Devil Wears Prada