May 27, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Pirates,” “Baywatch” Drown On Memorial Day Weekend


It’s beginning to look like a long, dark summer for Hollywood, which is adding two more box office disappointments to a growing list over this Memorial Day weekend.  PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (Disney) had a $23M Friday (including $5.3M from Thursday night) according to preliminary numbers at Deadline, and that puts it on track for a 4-day weekend that may not be much higher than $70M, with $60M for Fri-Sun.  That will be the lowest opening for the Pirates franchise since the $46.6M for the original Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003, and Dead Men won’t have anything like that film’s 6.5x multiple.  If it follows the pattern of 2007’s At World’s End, which also opened over Memorial Day weekend, it won’t even reach $200M in the US, the franchise’s lowest result by far.  Dead Men will be much more successful overseas, and at $700-800M worldwide it will probably be moderately profitable (depending on the back-ends owed to Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp), even with a mammoth $400M in production/marketing costs, but Pirates becomes yet another franchise with a shaky future.

BAYWATCH (Shanghai/Huahua/Skydance/Paramount) was more modest in cost ($175M all told) and earnings.  After $4.6M for its Thursday opening day (including $1.3M from Wednesday night), it only managed $6M on Friday, and may be at $26M by Monday after 5 days of release, which puts its US prospects at about $60M, with uncertain international appeal.  That would put it considerably below Dwayne Johnson’s last comedy Central Intelligence, which opened with $35.5M in 3 days and ended up with $127.4M in the US.  This was supposed to be the start of yet another franchise, but it doesn’t seem to have the juice for a second installment, putting more pressure on the new management at Paramount.

Last week’s ALIEN: COVENANT (TSG/20th) dropped an awful 78% from last Friday to $3.4M, and although like all the holdovers it will get a lift from the 4-day weekend, it’s only going to earn about $14M over the holiday, and seems unlikely to hit $100M in the US.  With Pirates opening virtually everywhere in the world this weekend, it’s also looking at a sizable slump overseas, marking it as another franchise in trouble.

The box office wreckage of the past 3 weeks continues to be great news for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 (Marvel/Disney), which dipped 39% from last Friday to $5.3M and is now on track for $360M in the US, up 10% or more from the first Guardians.

The more modest EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING (MGM/Warners) fell 54% from last Friday to $2.2M, for a 4-day weekend around $9M and a US total that will stretch for $50M.

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL (20th) benefits from being the most recent family title around, down 32% Friday-to-Friday to $1.4M, but still struggling after a $7M 4-day weekend to reach $30M in the US.

SNATCHED (20th) continues on its way to a mediocre $50M US total, down 53% from last Friday to $1.1M for a $5M 4-day weekend.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."