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May 23, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Question: When is a weekend box-office haul of $90.1 million considered a disappointment? Answer: When it’s the result for a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, that’s when. On Stranger Tides wasn’t expected to surpass the $114 million that the last sequel, At World’s End, did in 2007, let alone the $135.6 million that Dead Man’s Chest did in 2006. But several analysts thought that Disney was being a bit conservative with its forecast of $100 million, especially given the fact that, unlike the previous Pirates flicks, the latest installment carries a hefty 3D and IMAX surcharge. Even more striking: it took in less on a per-theater basis than Woody Allen’s latest, Midnight in Paris, which opened in New York and Los Angeles with an estimated $564,000 or about $28,500 per theater. Pirates averaged $21,700 per theater (although such a disparity is not likely to be evident when Allen’s film opens in wide release). Still, Tides produced the biggest weekend bounty of any movie released so far this year and accounted for around 80 percent of all of the weekend’s ticket sales. Universal’s Bridesmaids produced the biggest surprise of the weekend as it took in around $21.1 million. That’s about what it was expected to earn in its first weekend and down just 20 percent from that weekend — an astonishing hold for an R-rated comedy. It had been performing strongly all during the week and its 10-day total of around $60 million sets up a rivalry with another female-skewing wedding comedy, 2002’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which got off to a modest start but managed to stay in the top-ten for an amazing 32 weeks and wind up with $241 million. Meanwhile, the third week of Thor, which no doubt lost a significant number of 3D and IMAX screens to Pirates, dropped about 55 percent to take in $15.5 million to place third, while the fourth week of Fast Five slowed to $10.1 million, down 48 percent from the previous week.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:
1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, $90.1 million; 2. Bridesmaids, $21 million; 3. Thor, $15.5 million; 4. Fast Five, $10.6 million; 5. Rio, $4.7 million; 6. Priest, $4.6 million; 7. Jumping the Broom, $3.7 million; 8. Something Borrowed, $3.4 million; 9. Water for Elephants, $2.2 million; 10. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family, $990,000.

Overseas, the tides were less strange for the latest Pirates film as it set a new international box-office record with $256.3 million, surpassing 2009’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince the previous record holder. The result also put it ahead of the $216 million that World’s End grossed during its overseas opening in 2007.

Final Figures for the Top Five Films

1. Pirates of the Casribbean: On Stranger Tides, $90,151,958
2. Bridesmaids, $20,882,070
3. Thor, $15,455,304
4. Fast Five, $10,576,865
5. Priest, $4,750,041