By John Young
Updated May 21, 2011 at 07:00 PM EDT
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Credit: Peter Mountain

Jack Sparrow may be losing a bit of steam, but he’s still got it. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth movie in Disney’s hugely successful franchise, opened to $35 million on Friday according to early estimates. If the estimate holds, it will just barely beat Fast Five‘s $34.4 million gross to score the year’s biggest opening day. Compared to prior Pirates films, there’s a definite downward trend, at least domestically. The second film, Dead Man’s Chest, plundered $55.8 million its first day, while the third movie, At World’s End, took in $42.9 million. Still, On Stranger Tides‘ smaller debut is no cause for mutiny, as the 3-D adventure film is headed for an opening weekend of around $88 million, which would be the year’s best so far. And Johnny Depp and company are doing gangbusters overseas, where the movie has already earned $92.1 million in three days.

In second, the R-rated comedy Bridesmaids slipped a mere 19 percent from last Friday and is on pace for a $22 million weekend. Clearly strong word-of-mouth is propelling the film, as are its positive reviews. The god of thunder was hit hard by Pirates, as Thor tumbled 52 percent for $4.4 million. The PG-13 superhero movie will finish the weekend with about $16 million, pushing its three-week cumulative total past $145 million. The street-racing flick Fast Five landed in fourth, grossing $3.2 million and headed for an $11 million weekend. And Priest lost moviegoers’ faith, as the horror action film dropped 74 percent for $1.5 million.

In limited release, Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, collected an astounding $171,000 from just six locations. Its per-theater tally of $28,500 is the year’s largest opening-day average by far. Check back here on Sunday for the complete box office report.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — $35.0 mil

2. Bridesmaids — $6.4 mil

3. Thor — $4.4 mil

4. Fast Five — $3.2 mil

5. Priest — $1.5 mil

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Pirates of the Caribbean

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