The first box office numbers for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales are in. After taking a six-year break between installments, the long-running Disney franchise has officially made its return to the cinema this week, after premiering internationally a few days ago. Bringing back Johnny Depp’s iconic Captain Jack Sparrow, the film takes place several years after the events of On Stranger Tides – the last film in the franchise – as Jack is forced to face some of his most challenging foes yet when an old enemy comes back from the dead; intent on making Jack pay for what he did to him, once and for all.
That villain is none other than Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar, a former pirate hunter who was killed by Jack years before audiences were first introduced to him in 2003’s Curse of the Black Pearl. With both men hell-bent on getting their hands on the legendary Trident of Poseidon, the film becomes a race against time, as multiple different parties attempt to put an end to the other’s life and, in turn, gain total control over the sea itself.
Variety reports that thanks to several early screenings last night, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has already raked in $5.5 million at the domestic box office. That’s up from the $4.7 million that On Stranger Tides scored with its preview screenings back in 2011, with Dead Men Tell No Tales expected to make around $80 million at the domestic box office over this four-day weekend. That’s a solid opening for the film, which is also performing well overseas so far – though, it is still significantly less than the $13.2 million that 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End scored.
Now, with a production budget of $230 million, Dead Men Tell No Tales is still far off from making an actual profit for Disney at the box office, even with the $34.5 million that it’s scored overseas through Wednesday and Thursday so far. There’s no telling, of course, if the film will underperform in its opening weekend, but either way, Disney is in for the long haul with this one, and it’ll be interesting to see how well the movie does in the coming weeks at the box office – both internationally and domestically – as it tests the longevity of the Pirates franchise once again.
While the film is performing well at the box office currently, however, Dead Men Tell No Tales continues to bomb amongst critics, with a rotten 31% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That makes it the lowest-rated film in the franchise yet, below On Stranger Tides (32%), At World’s End (45%), and Dead Man’s Chest (54%). It’s doubtful that the negative reviews will have much of an effect, in the end, on the franchise’s financial success, since there’s hasn’t been a well-reviewed installment in the franchise since Curse of the Black Pearl (79%). Still, it does cast the series’ future into question, especially as Depp’s star power continues to be questionable at best.