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Disney Wins Weekend With ‘Pirates,’ ‘Guardians’ One-Two Combo

The first month of the summer 2017 movie season is in the record books – and, if you happen to be any film not produced by Walt Disney Studios, you’ve probably had your keister handed to you on a silver platter with a cheeky smile.

Note – all figures are representative of the three day weekend and do not account for Memorial Day.

Well, the good news is that Johnny Depp has a winner in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The bad news is that domestic audiences just may be worn thin of Depp himself. Pirates managed to plunder $62.1 million at the weekend box office, good enough to take the spot in a very underwhelming holiday weekend. Like other recent Disney releases the latest in this particular franchise opened in 91 percent of all markets. (Sorry Japan, you need to wait until July 1st to see this ship sail.) While that $62.1 million is the lowest opening weekend of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise since the original back in 2003, the film has snagged $208 million from overseas already. By the time the numbers are crunched Pirates should easily have $275 million in overall bank. The $230 million budget movie has critics divided but fans are flocking to see the latest. Both Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley both return to the fold after sitting out 2012’s On Stranger Tides, which still earned $1.045 billion worldwide. The latest entry is billed as the start of the final adventure too, so here’s hoping there’s a point to the story and a conclusion in mind. Though Depp’s box office draw still remains larger overseas but is waning here in the States, Dead Men Tell No Tales should have no trouble earning $1 billion. Disney, do us a favor. Conclude the franchise with a satisfying grand finale and let this one sail off into the sunset.

Most experts thought that Paramount’s Baywatch would take a chunk of the Johnny Depp’s latest romp, with at least $25 million in domestic receipts. Unfortunately, such was not the case. Critics ripped the Seth Gordon-directed comedy to shreds, citing the movie was more about tasteless jokes than possessing an actual plot. Instead Baywatch debuted in third place with a distant $18.1 million. (Paramount decided to forego release in two-thirds of the foreign markets until June 2. Can’t imagine why. Oh, hey Johnny Depp!) That’s ultimately disappointing but just another tell-tale sign that audiences aren’t much thrilled with what studios are putting in theaters. Not even the star power of Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron could help put more people in theaters. The $60 million production at least should save grace in international markets, where Johnson’s name now ranks up there with both Johnny Depp and Vin Diesel.

In second place was Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 with $19.8 million. The latest from James Gunn continues to draw in crowds since releasing nearly a month ago and, at this pace, should be nestled in the top ten well throughout the early summer months.To date Volume 2 is now up to $783.3 million worldwide and has officially passed Marvel’s introduce to Peter Quill and gang. While the film has a long way to go to break into Marvel’s top-three of box office winners, Gunn has to be elated at this point that reviews, word-of-mouth, and repeat viewings keep the receipts flowing. I’m still optimistic that this can gross $1 billion and, as I expected, this will be much like The Little Engine That Could. Fans shouldn’t be expecting news on Volume 3 anytime soon though – James Gunn is busy producing Avengers: Infinity War while he begins the scripting process for the closer of his Guardians trilogy.

So – and I called out my gut feeling on this last week too might I add – the biggest loser of the week? Don’t be surprised at all but audiences fled from 20th Century Fox’s Alien: Covenant like a swarm of bees were descending on a Memorial Day cookout.

20th Century Fox – and boy, look at the little fella take off.

Yeah, much like the above. Ridley Scott’s latest entry dropped a stunning 70.9% to a fourth place finish of $10.5 million. The trailers made the follow up to Prometheus look downright horrifying but instead, audiences discovered a movie that lacked a narrative identity. Fox can take solace in that the film is doing business overseas, with $101 million to date. While the production costs have been covered, to turn a profit Covenant is going to need to do in the ballpark of $291 million worldwide. I know my gut feeling was strong last week with this, and I’m sticking to that notion again, but I think Ridley Scott ought to rethink doing two more sequels to this current run. Trying to go back to the formula that worked in Alien when unanswered questions remained following Prometheus may not have been wise. Audiences may adore the Alien franchise because of the thrills but, if you’re going to introduce these thought-provoking existential questions, then don’t just abandon ship to please audiences.  Somewhere, Fox executives are probably questioning if that Alien 5 pitch by Neil Blomkamp could be rejiggered and salvaged.

Before I proceed with the rest of this week’s tanks…err takes, I do need to address a movie no longer in the top ten. That would be Fate of the Furious. Following this weekend the F. Gary Gray-directed film actually joined a very exclusive club only five other films have joined. Somehow the eighth entry in the long-running franchise has officially grossed $1 billion in international takes. Stateside the latest managed to gross $222.5 million, still enough to be in the top three of the franchise all-time. However, that $1 billion mark from overseas is a bigger sign the franchise isn’t out of gas. In China Fate of the Furious grossed $387.4 million, marking the Vin Diesel, uhm, vehicle the highest foreign film in the territory ever. The other five movies in the club include Avatar ($2 billion), Titanic ($1.5 billion), Furious 7 ($1.165 billion), Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($1,131 billion), and Jurassic World ($1.019 billion). Well folks, start the jokes now – what’s the title of the ninth Fast and Furious movie going to be? And then the tenth?

Okay, what was I saying? Oh that’s right, tanks. The trend continued this week of high profile releases hitting the ground on impact. Somehow Fox’s Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul managed to stay in the same slot at last week at sixth place. The latest in the franchise shed just 38% of its audience to earn $4.4 million, though has grossed just $16.3 million since release.  The soft reboot will manage to recoup production costs but still finish as a blemish on Fox’s ledger. Well Fox may need to look double on Tuesday morning, as its Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn comedy Snatched dropped to seventh place with $3.9 million. If anything Fox has hopefully learned Schumer isn’t the starlet they had hoped for – with just $49 million in total receipts, all appears her star power is less akin to Melissa McCarthy and more like Whitney Cummings. Oh, and I didn’t forget about you King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The Warner Brothers disaster dropped another 55% to eighth place with $3.2 million. I’m more interested to see just how much Warner Brothers needs to write off on this Guy Ritchie production than seeing the movie itself at this point.

So, Disney wins the weekend and is nearing $2 billion in worldwide receipts for the year. Everyone else is kind of lost in the mix fighting for table scraps. Next weekend sees two new releases hitting theaters. Wonder Woman, the latest in the DCCU and directed by Patty Jenkins, should easily win the weekend paraded by glowing reviews and positive word of mouth from early screenings. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (well first and only if this one is a stinker) drops from Dreamworks. I would imagine Disney retains two of the top four spots next weekend, but all eyes are on the gross from Wonder Woman. Warner Brothers is beating Marvel Studios with the first female-led super hero movie but, given a divisive fan base following both Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, Warners has some work to do. Until next Sunday don’t do anything I wouldn’t do – which is nothing, so do whatever you please – and have a wonderful week. Go support your local movie theater and spend a couple of hours at the movies!

1.) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales  – $62.1 million

2.) Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 – $19.8 million

3.) Baywatch – $18.1 million

4.) Alien: Covenant – $10.5 million

5.) Everything, Everything – $6.1 million

6.) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul – $4.4 million

7.) Snatched – $3.9 million

8.) King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – $3.2 million

9.) The Boss Baby – $1.7 million

10.) Beauty and the Beast – $1.5 million

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Jerrold Reber

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Jerrold spent his childhood in southeastern Pennsylvania ingesting far too many TV shows and movies, thus creating a stark-raving mad geek. He’s a movie aficionado, binge-watches Netflix, and is a total TV junkie. His addiction has led to an unhealthy and rabid obsession of various geek pantheons – Star Trek, Star Wars, both DC *AND* Marvel, cult 80's and 90's television, Supernatural, The X-Files, Doctor Who, and, and...holy overload. He's still waiting to run away in a 1967 Impala or a a blue police box.