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Box Office: ‘Pirates’ Sailing to $75 Million, ‘Baywatch’ Can’t Make Memorial Day Waves

Variety logo Variety 5/26/2017 Dave McNary
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Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” will hook in $75 million during the four-day Memorial Day holiday, early estimates showed on Friday.

Should the number hold, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” which will be playing at 4,276 North America locations, would wind up slightly below recent expectations of about $80 million. The pricey tentpole, with a $230 million budget, was heading for a $26 million opening day on Friday — including $5.5 million from Thursday night previews, when comScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak showed 44% of moviegoers rated the film “excellent” with another 37% labelling it “very good.”

Dwayne Johnson’s “Baywatch,” meanwhile, is struggling to make waves, coming in at the low end of projections. The film generated an estimated $4.5 million on Thursday, which includes $1.25 million from Wednesday night previews. Paramount’s R-rated action-comedy, which is opening in 3,647 North American locations, was expected to make between $32 million and $40 million during the five-day period, but it’s heading for a finish of slightly less than $30 million.

The fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” — the first since 2011 — should deliver between $150 million and $175 million internationally. It’s taken in about $35 million in its first two days in foreign markets since launching on Wednesday, and it’s heading for a first-day total of $20 million in China on Friday.

The four previous “Pirates” movies have grossed $1.28 billion domestically and $2.45 billion internationally, with the North American market representing a smaller share with each new film.

“Dead Men Tell No Tales” centers on Depp’s Jack Sparrow battling deadly ghost sailors, led by the Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg are directing “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” with Jerry Bruckheimer producing.

“Baywatch” stars Johnson and Zac Efron in a contemporary reboot of the NBC series starring David Hasselhoff. Johnson portrays an experienced and devoted lifeguard, who butts heads with Efron’s recruit until they uncover a criminal conspiracy. Paramount spent more than $60 million on the project and opted to open it a day early. The film may finish in third place over the four-day Friday-Monday period, with around $24 million — behind the fourth weekend of Disney’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” at $26 million.

The “Guardians” sequel should close out the holiday period with around $335 million in its first 25 days.

Fox’s second weekend of Ridley Scott’s “Alien: Covenant” is expected to wind up in fourth place, with around $16 million for the four days. That should lift the sci-fi sequel to around $62 million domestically in its first 11 days.

The summer is off to slow start, with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” as the only unqualified success so far. Year-to-date domestic business has hit $4.34 billion as of May 24, up 1.8% over the same period a year ago, according to comScore. Senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said that the overall weekend could match last year’s $205 million total — which was only the 10th best of all time.

“Fortunately, a very impressive and promising slate of newcomers is on deck, including ‘Wonder Woman,’ ‘Captain Underpants,’ ‘The Mummy, ‘Cars 3,’ ’47 Meters Down,’ ‘All Eyez On Me,’ ‘Transformers 5,’ ‘Baby Driver,’ and ‘Despicable Me 3,’ among others for whom the pressure is on to set things right and reverse this backward slide,” he added.

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