Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is already dropping off quickly at the U.S. box office. Last weekend, the Disney franchise adventure burst into theaters with a $78 million four-day domestic opening and a truly impressive $275 million worldwide gross. Dead Men Tell No Tales easily won the Memorial Weekend frame stateside over relatively weak competition, including the debut of Baywatch - which limped to a disappointing $23 million bow.
Though Pirates 5 did solid enough business everywhere, its domestic opening was somewhat light in comparison to other installments in the franchise, including Dead Man's Chest and At World's End (which both cracked $100 million in their first weekends). For such a huge tentpole movie, $78 million over a four-day weekend against less-than-stiff competition could have been read as a sign of trouble. In fact, the overall box office performance for the Memorial Day weekend was the worst in nearly two decades.
Going into its second weekend, there are even more signs of trouble for Pirates 5. According to box office estimates, Dead Men Tell No Tales suffered a precipitous 74% drop in ticket sales from Friday-to-Friday, from $23 million on its first Friday to just $6.2 million on its second. Estimates had it coming in third this Friday behind Wonder Woman, which debuted to a very strong $39 million and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, which bowed to $8 million.
If Pirates 5 should see the same type of drop-off for the entire weekend, it would rank as one of the biggest second-weekend plummets for a major film in history. Interestingly, this summer has already seen another major franchise film tank in a similar way: Alien: Covenant debuted at $36 million, hardly an impressive sum to begin with, then dropped off 70% its second weekend (at one point estimates had it dropping 80%, but things turned out to be slightly less dire than that) and now looks like it will struggle to even break $100 million domestically. Pirates 5 could actually be in line for a bigger second-weekend drop than Alien: Covenant, which would be a concerning development for Disney.
It now looks like the relatively solid opening weekend for Pirates 5 was as much a function of weak competition as audience enthusiasm for the film. With Wonder Woman and Captain Underpants drawing families to the multiplex, Pirates 5 is already fading fast, making it appear that the franchise overall is running out of steam with domestic audiences. The good news for the franchise is that Pirates 5 has been huge overseas, where it has already opened up in almost every available market.
With worldwide grosses having a bigger influence on how Hollywood does business, it's possible Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will not be the last movie in the series. In the U.S. however, the once-huge Pirates franchise now appears to be much less of a draw, while Wonder Woman looks to be establishing itself as the next big thing.
Source: Box Office Reuters
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) release date: May 26, 2017