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Disney’s ‘Pirates’ Is Top Film With Sales of $90.2 Million

''Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides''
Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush in ''Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'' by Rob Marshall. The fourth movie in the ''Pirates'' franchise premieres at the Cannes Film Festival, May 11-22. Photographer: Peter Mountain/Disney via Bloomberg

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” collected $90.2 million in weekend sales at U.S. and Canadian theaters, giving the summer box-office a needed boost with the year’s biggest debut.

“Bridesmaids,” from Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, remained in second place with $20.9 million in receipts, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement.

Outside the U.S., “On Stranger Tides” took in $260.4 million in sales for Walt Disney Co., the biggest international opening ever. Domestic sales were at the low end of forecasts that ranged from $90 million to $110 million. Sales this coming weekend may get another boost when DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.’s “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “The Hangover 2” from Paramount Pictures reach theaters.

“Next weekend is going to be a huge catalyst for the summer,” Jeff Bock, a box-office analyst with Exhibitor Relations, said in an interview. “‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ and ‘The Hangover 2’ could both pull in $100 million.”

Films opening in June, including “Super 8” and “The Green Lantern,” may help the studios and exhibitors make up their year-over-year deficit in sales and attendance.

Disney said the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” film, the first in the series to be shown in 3-D, also had the fifth-biggest domestic opening in the studio’s history.

Novelty of 3-D?

The movie may generate sales of $850 million to $900 million globally, driven by international markets, Bock said.

Higher prices for 3-D showings of “Pirates,” at 40 percent or more than 2-D tickets in some areas of the U.S., may have hurt the film’s attendance, according to Rich Greenfield, a New York-based analyst with BTIG LLC.

With a proliferation of 3-D films this year, some moviegoers also may no longer see the technology as a novelty, Greenfield wrote in a note. Non-Imax 3-D sales accounted for 54 percent of revenue for “Shrek Forever After” in May of last year. It accounted for 38 percent for “On Stranger Tides” on more 3-D screens, Greenfield wrote on his company’s Web site.

In “On Stranger Tides,” Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow is enlisted in a search for the Fountain of Youth. Penelope Cruz co-stars as Angelica, a pirate determined to save the soul of Blackbeard from damnation. Geoffrey Rush returns as Sparrow’s rival, Barbossa, and Ian McShane plays Blackbeard.

Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, two major characters played by Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley in the previous films, don’t appear in the new movie.

‘Bridesmaids’

“Bridesmaids,” produced by Judd Apatow, stars Kristen Wiig as the maid of honor who must cope with financial woes and personality conflicts among members of the bridal party. The movie has had sales of $59.3 million in two weeks.

“The word-of-mouth is just incredible,” Bock said. “I don’t think anyone saw this coming.”

The superhero saga “Thor” came in third place in its third weekend with sales of $15.5 million.

In “Thor,” the arrogant, hammer-wielding god of Norse mythology is banished by his father Odin to Earth to live among humans. He learns to accept the responsibility that comes with his great power when evil forces invade Earth.

Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor and Anthony Hopkins plays Odin. Natalie Portman co-stars as Thor’s human love interest. Paramount is distributing the movie for Marvel, which was acquired by Burbank, California-based Disney last year.

‘Fast Five’

“Fast Five,” Universal’s fifth installment in the series about street racers, was fourth with $10.6 million in receipts. The movie has taken in $186.2 million in four weeks in cinemas.

“Priest,” starring Paul Bettany as a clergyman/warrior who battles an army of vampires, was fifth with $4.8 million for distributor Sony Corp. Karl Urban and Maggie Q co-star.

“Rio,” the animated film from News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox, had sales of $4.7 million in sixth place. The film features the voices of Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg and tells the story of a domesticated macaw who travels to Rio de Janeiro from Minnesota to find a mate. The movie has earned $131.7 million in six weeks.

Revenue for the top 12 films rose 11 percent this past weekend to $158.7 million from a year ago, Hollywood.com said. Year to date, sales are down 12 percent to $3.65 billion, with attendance falling 13 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales for May 20 to May 22.

                        Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                  (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln) Wks
================================================================
 1 PIRATES OF CARIBBEAN $90.2  4,155  $21,697   --    $90.2    1
 2 BRIDESMAIDS           20.9  2,937    7,110  -20     59.3    2
 3 THOR                  15.5  3,924    3,939  -55    145.4    3
 4 FAST FIVE             10.6  3,622    2,920  -48    186.2    4
 5 PRIEST (3-D)           4.8  2,864    1,659  -68     23.8    2
 6 RIO (3-D ANIMATED)     4.7  2,593    1,808  -43    131.7    6
 7 JUMPING THE BROOM      3.7  1,472    2,516  -48     31.3    3
 8 SOMETHING BORROWED     3.5  2,606    1,349  -49     31.5    3
 9 WATER FOR ELEPHANTS    2.2  1,894    1,150  -48     52.5    5
10 TYLER PERRY’S MADEA    1.0    912    1,049  -57     51.7    5
11 SOUL SURFER            0.9    984      945  -49     40.6    7
12 TANGLED (3-D ANIMATED) 0.9    191    4,767 14,236  200.6   26

Top 12 Films Grosses

   This Week     Year Ago      Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $158.7        $143.1       +11


Year-to-date Revenue

     2011          2010
      YTD           YTD        Pct.
     (mln)         (mln)       Chg.
===================================
    $3,649        $4,128      -12


Year-to-date Attendance:     -13%

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net; Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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