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Can Pirates Gather Record Plunder?

July 6th, 2006

The latest "Sure Thing" openings tomorrow. But this Summer seven previous "Sure Things" have already come out and only one or two have actually lived up to expectations. Both The Da Vinci Code and X-Men: The Last Stand managed to do so, more or less, but with The Da Vinci Code my expectations were somewhat lower than the industry average and its final box office is still looked at as a disappointment by many. Will Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest break this trend, or will it be the latest victim in a summer of over-hyped misses?

There are some huge expectations for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with the consensus having the film topping $100 million with ease, and possibly even breaking Spider-Man's opening weekend record. There are certainly factors that will help the film reach that target, including the popularity of the original and the total lack of new competition. However, there are also signs of weakness including the terrible track record for other tentpole releases this year. But a bigger concern are the reviews. Just yesterday the film was earning a Tomatometer reading of 75% positive, with the average critic giving the film a better rating than the original. But since then the reviews have been harsh with the Tomatometer rating dropping to a mere 54% positive. This puts it below most of the other tentpole releases this year and could spell trouble for the film's legs.

However, that shouldn't hurt the film's opened weekend box office as much, but that, and the film's 2.5 hour running time, will likely put the record out of reach. Look for $110 million from Friday to Sunday but less than $300 million in total. On the other hand, if the film doesn't double the amount Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl opened with, it will be seen as a disappointment, and if it somehow manages to earn less, then the summer blockbuster season is officially dead.

Agree? Disagree? Put your prognosticating to the test and enter our Pirate Treasure Contest today.

Can Superman Return survive the pirate onslaught? That is the question on the minds of every executive over at Warner Bros. right now. Should the film hold on well, then its domestic run can be salvaged and nobody will be fired as a result of the film's under-performance. Unfortunately for the studio, a 50% drop-off is all but guaranteed while 60% drop-off would not be that shocking. Those two figures would give the film a $21 - $26 million sophomore stint, neither of which is that impressive. I think the reviews will help it earn towards the higher end of that scale, adding $25 million to its box office and pushing its running tally to nearly $150 million. That would put the film about a third of the way to profitability with some life left domestically, most of its international run ahead of it, and of course, the highly lucrative home market.

After a surprise start, The Devil Wears Prada could continue its strong run, or prove to be highly front-loaded. $15 million seems to be the odds-on favorite, with most people assuming it will comfortably top last week's prediction of $14 million. That would give the film more than $60 million during its run, and real shot at $100 million overall. I think it will perform just a little bit better, taking in just over $16 million, which would be a fantastic hold, especially for a post-holiday weekend.

Another 50% drop-off is in the future of Click and that would push its weekend total to $10 million and its running tally to just over $100 million. Original expectations are still the target here and the film should have no trouble showing a profit by its initial push into the home market.

Coming in fifth is Cars with a predicted $8 million, which would be more than enough to push the film over $200 million and into third place on the yearly chart. It will also become the fifth Pixar film in a row to reach that mark, but after reaching close to $350 million with Finding Nemo, this still feels very disappointing. The curse of high expectations.


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