Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales launched its international run this week with a global take of $40 million in its first two days. Starring Johnny Depp as the drunken, bumbling pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, the Pirates of the Caribbean series has been a lucrative one since Disney set sail with its theme-park inspired ride in 2003’s The Curse of the Black Pearl. And while the film has taken in blockbuster numbers for The Curse of the Black Pearl and its three sequels with $1.28 billion domestically, the film series has also become a juggernaut worldwide, taking in an additional $2.45 billion.
According to Variety, the film has earned $40 million overseas, opening at No. 1 in every foreign market in which it debuted. Dead Men Tell No Tales kicked off Wednesday in France with a $2.3 million take, which made it the second-biggest opening in the country this year behind The Fate of the Furious. The fifth film in the Pirates series also opened Thursday in Russia, Germany and the U.K., earning $4 million, $3.6 million and $900,000, respectively. The film also had top opening days at Austria, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Projected to open with anywhere from $150 million to $175 million overseas this weekend, Dead Men Tell No Tales is well on its way to meeting its goal. The film will undoubtedly get a big boost from its China opening, where Variety says it earned $20 million on Friday alone. In Thursday previews domestically, Dead Men Tell No Tales made a solid $5.5 million, and is projected to earn as much as $80 million over the four-day Memorial Day weekend at 4,276 locations.
No matter how big its opening, Dead Men Tell No Tales will have a lot of ground to make up before it becomes profitable. The film, which introduces Oscar winner Javier Bardem as Captain Jack’s ghostly nemesis Captain Salazar, reportedly has a production budget of $230 million before marketing costs. If potential viewers, at least domestically, are relying on critics’ takes on the film, it may have an uphill battle to face if it’s going to make more money in the long-term. Early reviews were middling to positive, although the aggregate score of critics at Rotten Tomatoes currently stands at 31 percent “fresh” with 169 critics reporting.
Whether the latest Pirates of the Caribbean chapter will seize enough box office booty is yet to be seen, and if it does, it will be the first Disney film after Beauty and the Beast to cross the $1 billion mark at the global box office this year (the only other 2017 release to top the $1 billion threshold is The Fate of the Furious). But with Depp along for the voyage, anything is possible, since the Pirates series previously sailed passed the $1 billion mark with Dead Man’s Chest in 2006 and On Stranger Tides in 2011.
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