Wow! The fact that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is the number one in America is, of course, no surprise. But what is surprising is just how many records the movie broke injust three days to claim that top spot...
In his weekend report for Box Office Mojo, Brandon Gray, had this to say:
'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest 'claimed record booty, sailing past 'Spider-Man' with an estimated $132 million weekend...
Gray's complete break-down of the numbers can be found here
While Ben Fritz, in article for Variety wrote:
You'd be hard pressed to find a record that "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" didn't set.
Disney's theme park sequel opened to an astounding $132 million -- a full $17 million ahead of the previous three-day weekend record set by "Spider-Man."
It even beat the four-day weekend title previously held by "X-Men: the Last Stand," which took $122.9 million over the Memorial Day frame.
Johnny Depp starrer set records every day. On Friday, its $55.5 million gross was the biggest single day in B.O. history. By Saturday, its $100.2 million take was the biggest ever two-day gross and made pic the first to break the $100 million barrier in 48 hours.
Saturday's $44.7 million gross was $100,000 off from the best-ever Saturday gross of $44.8 million, drawn by "Shrek 2" in 2004.
Despite setting sail at an ultrawide 4,133 theaters, "Pirates" averaged an amazing $31,945 per play -- the biggest ever for a film in wide release.
Pic also helped establish a new ceiling for the overall market; "Pirates" led the way to a record breaking weekend for the industry of $217 million, according to Nielsen EDI. That crushes the previous record of $188 million, set in June 2004, when "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" opened.
Boffo take was so far ahead of previous records that it upended many industryites' estimates of how much a film could gross in a single weekend.
"This was really made possible by the new megaplexes, where the exhibitors found a way to make auditoriums available when they saw the lines," said Disney distribution [president]Chuck Viane.
Frame was up an amazing 46% compared to a year ago, and took the 2006 box office from a 3% lead last weekend up to 5% over 2005.
Online ticketers Fandango and MovieTickets.com both set single-day sales records on Friday thanks to "Pirates."
Saturday gross was down a bit from Friday, a fact the studio attributed to the $9 million the film took from midnight shows on its opening day.
Clearly establishing itself as the blockbuster of the year, "Pirates" has already grossed more than "Superman Returns" did in its first 10 days and "X-Men: the Last Stand" in its first five.
"Pirates" played virtually evenly to all audience segments as matinees were packed with families and latenight shows with adults.
"These are some of the best balanced crowds you've seen," said Viane. "Moviegoers of all types had an insatiable appetite to see this film."
According to exit polling by Fandango, women came out of "Pirates" with a somewhat more positive opinion of the film. But approximately two-thirds of both genders said they would "definitely recommend" the pic.
Predicting the future for "Pirates" is difficult since there's no model for such a huge opening. Viane admitted that even calculating the estimated Sunday gross of $31.8 million was difficult. Actual weekend take could end up several million dollars higher or lower.
But with no more tentpoles left this summer, the film seems to have a relatively wide berth to keep playing. Even if it falls at a normal rate for a blockbuster of around 50% per frame, it should easily surpass the $305 million domestic booty of the original "Pirates."
Assuming foreign grosses are healthy as well, the Mouse House will be well on its way to proving that its costly investment in two "Pirates" sequels shot simultaneously was wise.
Rather than crushing the competition, "Pirates" seemed to benefit other studios, as most films had relatively modest drops.
Only exception was last weekend's blockbuster bow, "Superman Returns," which fell a sizable 58% on its second frame to $21.9 million. After 12 days, cume is a healthy, though far from spectacular, $141.7 million.
What's ironic here, is the fact that Superman Returns has had a far better reaction from critics overall, then "Pirates" did
The masses have spoken...