No Bottle of Rum, but 'Pirates' Pulls Them In

Peter Mountain/Walt Disney Pictures
Johnny Depp in the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean," the most successful movie opening in Hollywood history.

By Sharon Waxman
New York Times
Published: July 10, 2006

LOS ANGELES, July 9 — The box-office blues are officially over.


Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for BVI
Teenagers are just one segment of a wide audience for "Pirates."

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest", the rollicking, effects-laden sequel starring an indelibly roguish Johnny Depp, pulverized several records in its first three days in theaters over the weekend, becoming the most successful movie opening in Hollywood history.

On its opening day, Friday, the movie took in more revenue in a single day than any movie had before: $55 million. By Saturday it passed the $100 million mark, the first time a movie had done so in two days. By Sunday experts estimated that it would take in a total of $132 million for the weekend, far surpassing the previous record-holder, "Spider Man" which took in $115 million in revenue in its opening weekend in 2002. ("Pirates" was in 4,133 theaters, several hundred more than "Spider-Man," but its per-screen average surpassed that of the webbed superhero. Ticket prices have risen since then.) Beyond the pure dollar figures, the excitement generated by the movie's opening was palpable in a summer that has drawn moviegoers to the cineplex in solid if uninspiring numbers.

Fans around the country went to the first screenings on Thursday at midnight dressed in pirate outfits. Theater owners reported scenes of mock swordplay in front of the movie houses. At El Capitan theater in Hollywood over the weekend, a couple showed up in elaborate pirate costumes and went to the movie in back-to-back showings.

For the first time in a very long while, there were long lines everywhere for a true blockbuster hit. "I feel like Santa Claus," said Chuck Viane, president for distribution at Buena Vista Pictures, the division of the Walt Disney Company that made the film. "I have been in more auditoriums this weekend watching movies, and to see how much fun people are having is worth the whole price of how tired I am."
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/10/mo...=1&oref=slogin