Friday Box Office: ‘Pirates’ Grosses at Least $36 Million on First Day of U.S. Release

UPDATED: The 3D tentpole has likely lost its chance for a $100 million domestic bow, but is still looking at the best opening of the year.

While losing its chance to hit $100 million, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is still on course to score the best opening of the year at the domestic box office after grossing $36 million to $37 million on Friday.
At those numbers, the Johnny Depp tentpole is now expected to gross in the $90 million to $93 million range for the weekend. That’s well less than the $114.7 million earned by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End in its debut in 2007, but still better than Universal’s Fast Five, which opened to $86.2 million in late April.

Overseas is a different story, where On Stranger Tides is off to a dazzling start, grossing $44.2 million on Wednesday and Thursday as it rolled out in its first 37 territories. That’s 10 percent ahead of At World’s End.

Foreign box office observers say On Stranger Tides film should open north of $150 million internationally, and as high as $200 million.

On Stranger Tides is an expensive proposition for Disney, having cost $250 million to produce, according to insiders. The studio was hoping for a $100 million domestic debut, but considering the soft marketplace, was prepared for a lower number.

On Stranger Tides received a B+ CinemaScore at the domestic box office, despite poor reviews, according to Friday exit polls. Reflecting the continued absence of younger people, 56% of the audience was over the age of 25, although the film drew an even number of males and females.

Friday’s tally included $4.6 million in Thursday midnight runs from roughly 2,200 theaters.

On Friday, On Stranger Tides moved into a total of 4,166 theaters in North America, including 256 IMAX locations, where it did big business.

Elsewhere at the Friday box office, Universal’s Bridesmaids was enjoying a good hold after opening to an exceptionally strong $26.2 million last weekend and cuming $38.4 million through Thursday. The R-rated comedy, from director Paul Feig, is on track to come in No. 2 for the weekend.

Sony Pictures Classics specialty debut Midnight in Paris was off to a good start on Friday as it opened in six theaters in New York and Los Angeles.


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