Despite testing very well, audiences seem worn out by franchises. (Unless they’re Marvel movies.) Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ has an A- CinemaScore from audiences, better than the B+ that the previous sequel ‘On Stranger Tides’ six years ago. It’s also done exceptionally overseas with $275M globally, so it will still make money for Disney regardless of its US performance. This could still lead to more sequels.
In the US, ‘Pirates’ was tracking to do $90-$100M. Instead, it will take in $62.6M over three days (four counting Thursday previews) and $77M once Memorial Day is factored in. That’s down 31% from’On Stranger Tides’. It’s possible that word of mouth could help it in the long run, as I said audiences that saw it liked it a lot. But there’s so much competition, including ‘Wonder Woman’ opening in just days that it may stay sunk.
Some are questioning whether Johnny Depp’s star has fallen. His last movie for Disney, ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ also failed (although it made a slight profit). But ‘Looking Glass’ was part of an only semi-successful franchise and came several years after the first installment. Depp has had a controversial personal life after his ex-wife Amber Heard accused him of abuse. That may have turned some off. Depp did promote the movie by surprising attendees at Disneyland’s ‘Pirates’ attraction weeks ago.
Unfortunately, the stakes were higher for Paramount’s ‘Baywatch’, which was hoped to launch a franchise. Like ‘Pirates’, test audiences loved it. It scored a 91 THREE times! Also like ‘Pirates’, ‘Baywatch’ was tracking at $90-$100M. It scored a B+ CinemaScore with regular audiences… the ones that saw it. ‘Baywatch’ also technically opened Thursday night, so over four days, it made $22.5M and $27-27.7M once Memorial Day is added in. It cost roughly $60M to make.
‘Baywatch’ was one of the most popular shows worldwide… back in the late 80s and early 90s. Which means that the desirable under-25 male audience, for the most part, has never seen it. Those that remember it, do so as a cheesy guilty pleasure. The biggest draw was a jiggly Pamela Anderson and other buxom stars like Carmen Electra. This time around, the emphasis was put on beefcake, with The Rock and Zac Efron being the major selling points. As a result, females made up a larger percentage of the audience.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Disney) – $62.6M (4-Day), $77M (5-Day)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney/Marvel Studios) – $20.6M (4-Day), $27M (5-Day)
- Baywatch (Paramount) – $18.45M (4-Day), $22.5M (5-Day)
- Alien: Covenant (20th Century Fox) – $10.7M (4-Day), $13.3M (5-Day)
- Everything, Everything (Warner Brothers/MGM) – $5.98M (4-Day), $7.4M (5-Day)
‘Alien: Covenant’ actually was the first sign of franchise fatigue. But to be fair ‘Alien’ and ‘Pirates’ are both pretty old brands. (Obviously, ‘Alien’ is much older.)
Here’s hoping that Warner Brothers’ ‘Wonder Woman’ proves mightier this coming weekend.
In alternate news, ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’ is also opening. Hopefully, it will do better than ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul’.
Check back to see how the new arrivals do and how the current crop holds up.