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''Pirates'': Already 2006's top grosser

”Pirates”: Already 2006’s top grosser. Joshua Rich’s weekend wrap-up: Disney’s adventure hit brings in another $62.2 mil; meanwhile, ”Little Man” and ”Dupree” duke it out

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Keira Knightley, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Yo (ho ho), readers! Bet you can guess what I’m about to say — and not just because the headline above ruined all the suspense. Yep, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest buckled its swash at No. 1 for a second straight weekend, earning $62.2 million, according to Sunday’s estimates. That $62.2 mil represents a 54 percent decline — which was to be expected, given the sequel’s colossal debut — and it stands as just the third-best second-weekend gross of all time. Not that the folks at Disney are preparing to walk the plank over such slight sophomore softness. After all, the movie brought its total take to $258.2 mil in 10 days (yep, another record), and it’ll soon have a booty of $300 mil.

Rather, I’m the one who should be screaming ”aaargh!” because I got a little overzealous and predicted that POTC:DMC would earn about $10 mil more this weekend. Why? I blame my dad. That’s usually a good excuse for anything, but in this case I mean it for real. See, Dad called me up last week and said that he was dying to go see this movie: When he was a kid, way back before those magnificent men had invented their flying machines, he lived for Errol Flynn flicks, and he was hoping to relive his childhood via Capt. Jack Sparrow. This came as something of a revelation to me, because Dad almost never gets giddy over action movies without the words ”Van” or ”Damme” above the title. And if Dad is interested in it, I thought to myself, then POTC:DMC must be drawing a very broad crowd, and it’ll surely hold more than 50 percent of its audience. Well, so much for that. For some reason Dad never made it to the movies this weekend, and, it turns out, a lot of other folks didn’t either. Perhaps the film’s critical pooh-poohs caught up with it. Perhaps Americans got swept up in watching the most entertaining sporting event of the year, Le Tour de France (go, Floyd!). One thing’s for sure: POTC:DMC won’t be threatening Titanic‘s $600.8 mil domestic record now. Nevertheless, the movie is already the top earner of 2006, and it now ranks as the No. 34 domestic grosser of all time — and it’s hard to pooh-pooh that.

Freshman funny flicks Little Man (No. 2, with $21.7 mil) and You, Me and Dupree (No. 3, with $21.3 mil) finished in a virtual dead heat, which is completely appropriate, given the movies’ similar alienation of critics (17 percent ”fresh” and 21 percent ”fresh,” respectively, per RottenTomatoes.com), plus comparably moderate CinemaScore ratings from viewers (B+ and B-, respectively). The gross figures here are a tad weak among 2006 comedy premieres (Click, The Break-Up, Scary Movie 4, Failure to Launch, The Devil Wears Prada, and even Big Momma’s House 2 bowed better), but basically, they’re just fine.

There was more kryptonite for Superman Returns (No. 4), which dropped 47 percent in its third weekend to earn $11.6 mil and bring its total domestic take to $163.6 mil. Poor Supes. Best thing he can hope for now is to match Batman Begins‘ $205.3 mil, but even that would be a disappointment. The silver lining is that, with the end of the World Cup, this weekend marked Supes’ first major flight into foreign markets. Overseas numbers have yet to be crunched, but they’ll be key in determining whether this super-expensive flick breaks even. Meanwhile, The Devil Wears Prada continued its buzz-worthy run, falling a mere 30 percent and earning $10.5 mil to take No. 5.

Overall, the very excellent Paul at Exhibitor Relations reports that total receipts this weekend were down nearly 5 percent from the same period last year. As such, adds the most awesome John at Nielsen EDI, this is the first ”down” weekend in two months. And I’ve gotta think that it wouldn’t have been so bad if my dad had gotten off his derriere and gone to the multiplex like he’d promised.