Here’s the basic question – was there really much public demand for yet another “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie? Taking that even further, where were the screaming hoards of filmgoers asking for a “Baywatch” film? If the exist, I sure missed them.
As for “Pirates”, people mat not know or forget what a huge risk Disney was taking when they released the first “Pirate” film, subtitled “The Curse of the Black Pearl”, back in July 2003. Though it was based on a popular amusement ride in Disneyland, no studio had made a real pirate movie since the early 80’s. They were considered old fashioned and of no interest to the movie going public. So making a new pirate movie was a big gamble, compounded with the fact that Johnny Depp was far from being a genuine box office draw back then.
He had, at the time, been in a few films that had done OK box office at best, but he also had a long trail of flops, while also being considered too quirky an actor to be a mainstream attraction. So a pirate movie starring a questionable box office lead was a risky deal. In fact, Disney execs were so unprepared and shocked by what they saw Depp doing in the production rushes that they panicked and were convinced the film was going to tank.
It turns out that they had noting to worry about. Not only was the film a massive worldwide box office hit, with Depp even getting an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his inspired groundbreaking performance as Captain Jack Sparrow, the actor joined the A-list. But after three sequels, was it necessary to make another one?
You’d think the franchise has been played out by now, but there are some reasons why Disney and Depp went back to the well one more time. First of all, the “Pirates” franchise has grossed nearly $4 billion worldwide, with three of those films individually earning over a billion globally. So with grosses like that, why not make another one? There might be still some life left in the series.
Also Depp has been in a rough spot, both career and personal. Though he was deservedly praised for his gangster role in “Black Mass” he hasn’t had a real box office hit in some time, and needs something to revive his career. So why not go back to the tried and true, even though the film and his performance could seem pretty stale by now.
And it looks like Disney might be right about life being left in the “Pirates” franchise, despite the terrible reviews it’s been getting, since the new one – “Dead Men Tell No Tales” – was No.1 this holiday weekend, with almost $62 million domestic and $270 million worldwide to date. The number will grow once the late Sunday night/Monday holiday numbers are factored in. And while its $62 million domestic open is nowhere near the $90. 2 million that the last “Pirates” movie – 2011’s “On Stranger Tides” – did on its opening weekend, it’s good enough for Disney, especially when you consider the tough competition that includes “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” which was strong enough to stay No. 2 for the second week in a row with $19.9 million and $333 million domestically.
But what’s more impressive is that domestic tally is exactly the total amount of money that the first “Galaxy” movie made in the U.S., meaning that “Galaxy 2” will far surpass the first film domestically, after all is said and done. In addition, with a worldwide total of $783 million so far, that is $10 million more than what the first “Galaxy” film earned globally in total, and it’ll still be making money for some time to come.
As for “Baywatch”, the lesson here is that you can never trust rumors. When the film version of the old 80’s TV show was announced, many thought it was a bad idea, and yet another example of Hollywood’s fear of original ideas. However, a few months ago, rumors that the film was actually genuinely funny and much better than anyone had anticipated, began to travel. Now we know those rumors were totally false since reviews and filmgoer comments have made it clear that “Baywatch” is one of the absolute worst and least funny films of the year.
And that may not be good news for Dwayne Johnson who, despite his popularity and A-list status, is not the most reliable box office draw around. With the exception of last year’s comedy “Central Intelligence” with Kevin Hart, and the disaster film “San Andreas”, he has yet to prove that he can really bring people into the theater when he’s the star of a film. So far his biggest box office hits have been the “Fast and Furious” films in which he is part of an larger ensemble cast. But his starring roles such as in “Hercules”, “Pain and Gain” and “GI Joe Retaliation” have either tanked or have done OK worldwide, but nothing spectacular.
“Baywatch” continues that trend, coming in third with $18 million and $22.7 million total, which may not sound too bad, but is a disappointment since it was predicted to do better. However what is more surprising was the massive 71% drop for “Alien: Covenant” indicating not-so-great word of mouth. At $57 million so far, the film won’t even reach $100 million, although that’s not much of a surprise since no “Alien” film has ever made $100 million domestically at the box office. However 1986’s “Aliens” came the closest with $85 million.
Meanwhile “Everything Everything”, which is been attracting hoards of teenage girls, held up pretty well in a smart counter programming move by Warner Bros and looks likely to hit somewhere between $35-40 million domestically, which would be a nice sum for the very modestly budgeted feature ($10 million production budget). Meanwhile the independently produced and distributed Latino comedy “How to be a Latin Lover” has quietly become a sleeper hit, grossing close to $31 million to far.
And for those of you keeping tabs, “Get Out” is just shy of $9 million to hit the $250 million worldwide mark.
This weekend’s top 12 grossing films below:
1) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales BV $62,179,000
2) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 BV $19,890,000 Total: $333,205,927
3) Baywatch Par. $18,100,000 Total: $22,706,514
4) Alien: Covenant Fox $10,525,000 Total: $57,347,181
5) Everything, Everything WB $6,185,000 Total: $21,541,113
6) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul Fox $4,400,000 Total: $13,581,961
7) Snatched Fox $3,905,000 Total: $40,184,625
8) King Arthur: Legend of the Sword WB $3,215,000 Total: $33,870,202
9) The Boss Baby Fox $1,700,000 Total: $168,957,190
10) Beauty and the Beast (2017) BV $1,563,000 Total: $500,563,435
11) The Fate of the Furious Uni. $1,472,545 Total: $222,523,415
12) How to be a Latin Lover PNT $1,000,000 Total: $30,910,580
Source: Shadow & Act