Weekend Forecast: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ & ‘Baywatch’

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and with it come the debuts of a major franchise sequel and the latest TV-to-film adaptation. Following May’s annual first weekend tentpole, the extended holiday frame has often served as a second launching pad into the heart of summer box office as families begin vacations and schools begin to go on break for the season. However, sometimes the holiday weekend has delivered its share of under-performers as crowds opt for the beach or other forms of entertainment. How will things pan out this year? Our final analysis and forecast for this weekend’s openers:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Disney

PROS:

  • Captain Jack Sparrow remains one of the most iconic characters to come out of the modern blockbuster era. Fans of the franchise are eager to take another adventure with Johnny Depp’s swashbuckler after a six-year hiatus.  The return of Orlando Bloom’s William Turner is another factor that has boosted fan interest.
  • Social media reactions to trailers have been largely positive, particularly following the film’s full screening at CinemaCon back in March.
  • The lack of breakout hits since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 earlier this month means the market is relatively open going into the weekend.
  • Traditional tracking metrics have been fairly healthy for this sequel, generating interest trends comparable to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug — another fifth installment of a venerable franchise that began in the early 2000s.
  • Almost regardless of domestic performance — where a $200+ million finish is looking unlikely again unless word of mouth drastically counters that of critical reception — overseas returns should be strong enough to guarantee financial success for this film given the franchise’s history (the previous film earned 77 percent of its worldwide gross outside North America). Based on opening markets this weekend, a global debut between $235 million and $250 million is the studio’s current target launch.

CONS:

  • As with almost any series five films in, there’s no denying some underlying franchise fatigue among more casual viewers of this franchise. The previous installment, On Stranger Tides, already fell victim to diminishing returns at the domestic box office.
  • Unfortunately, the film’s poor 35 percent Rotten Tomatoes score as of this writing isn’t likely to sway many of the casual viewers feeling said fatigue after the fourth film.
  • On the somewhat flipped side of tracking comparisons, pre-release interest levels are trailing those of last year’s Memorial opener, X-Men: Apocalypse.
  • Buzz for next week’s Wonder Woman continues to heat up on an impressive level. Combined with underwhelming reviews, that could be an outside factor in depressing attendance for this franchise sequel on a holiday weekend when many families have alternate entertainment options.

Baywatch
Paramount

PROS:

  • By far this film’s strongest advantage on the domestic front is leading man Dwayne Johnson, who has proven to be one of the most reliable box office draws among men and women in recent years with successes like San AndreasCentral IntelligenceJourney 2: The Mysterious Island, and of course, the Fast & Furious franchise under his belt.
  • The Jump Street films have proven that R-rated comedy is a viable genre for TV-to-film adaptations in an effort to extend appeal to younger audiences not as familiar with the source material.
  • Facebook activity is particularly strong with more than twice the number of fans at the same point before release as Central Intelligence and 21 Jump Street.
  • Produced on a budget between $65-70 million (per the studio), the road to success doesn’t require major breakout numbers from North America given the franchise’s broader appeal internationally. The original television show is one of the most successful of all-time in overseas markets.

CONS:

  • Unfortunately, reviews are in the cellar at 16 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s possible this could be partly critic-proof during opening weekend, but audiences are increasingly mindful of pre-release word of mouth these days.
  • Marketing has aimed to strike similar tones as Jump Street and Neighbors, but the consensus is less enthusiastic than it was before those films released.
  • Industry tracking shows the film’s interest levels behind those of comparable comedies like Central Intelligence, the Neighbors and Jump Street series, and The Hangover Part III.

Check out our four-day weekend forecast in the table below.

Title Distributor 4-Day Weekend Domestic Total through Monday, May 29 % Change
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Disney $83,000,000 $83,000,000 NEW
Baywatch Paramount $32,500,000 $40,000,000 NEW
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Disney $24,110,000 $340,000,000 -30%
Alien: Covenant Fox $16,270,000 $65,820,000 -55%
Everything, Everything Warner Bros. $8,210,000 $23,470,000 -30%
Snatched Fox $6,270,000 $42,780,000 -20%
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul Fox $5,130,000 $14,420,000 -28%
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Warner Bros. $4,650,000 $35,890,000 -35%
The Boss Baby Fox $2,420,000 $170,010,000 -15%
The Fate of the Furious Universal $2,330,000 $223,660,000 -28%
Beauty and the Beast (2017) Disney $2,040,000 $501,170,000 -20%
How to be a Latin Lover Pantelion $1,230,000 $31,170,000 -40%

Shawn Robbins and Alex Edghill contributed to this report.

Boxoffice Staff

20 Comments

  1. Avatar
    J May 24, 2017

    Pirates not going to hit 200 million domestic? Seriously? Will receive a 4 day total of at least 90-100 million.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Mark May 24, 2017

      Pirates will plummet after the first weekend. it won’t hit 200 million domestically.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      JS May 24, 2017

      I wouldn’t be surprised if this thing performed similarly to X-Men Apocalypse. Sorry bud. We will see pretty soon tho.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        J May 25, 2017

        We will see soon. And to help my case I need to see it multiple times lol.

        Reply
        • Avatar
          Austin May 25, 2017

          I think that the 33% on Rotten Tomatoes won’t help Pirates 5 out at all and that very early 8.6 on IMDB (resulting mainly from die-hard fans who attended the first screenings) will shrink to 7. Maybe the Cinemascore might help it, but that’s unlikely.
          There are a host of other problems for Pirates 5 right now. For example, people may save their money for Wonder Woman because of very positive reactions to the first screening (even from critics) in hopes that it’ll translate to the best reviews for any movie in the DCEU. Perhaps some of the male audiences (who had GOTG Vol. 2, King Arthur, and Alien: Covenant release this month) won’t show up for Pirates 5 for any number of reasons, including saving money. The rather negative reviews certainly don’t help. The six-year gap between the previous installment probably won’t help much either.
          Even though an $80 million start domestically is certainly decent, it looks inevitable if not a little too high. And a nasty drop of 60% might also follow it.

          Reply
          • Avatar
            Austin May 25, 2017

            EDIT/UPDATE: as of this writing now, Pirates 5 sits at 28% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the lowest scoring Pirates movie ever.

          • Avatar
            J May 25, 2017

            Rotten Tomatoes is wrong. Pretty much everyone agrees it’s better than the fourth one-they just won’t give better reviews for it which shows their inconsistency with reviewing. Also, you keep mentioning the positive reviews for Wonder Woman…Batman V superman and Suicide Squad got positive reactions at first before everyone hated them. Wonder Woman will probably get mixed to bad reviews because I’ve already heard there are problems with the third act and ARES. Not that I want the movie to fail, I actually want to see it, but you’re giving it too much credit.

          • Avatar
            Ed May 25, 2017

            Stll no J

  2. Avatar
    Nick Sacco May 25, 2017

    Rotten Tomatoes is a joke, and critics have a bias against Johnny Depp. Remember when Rotten Tomatoes gave Ghostbusters at 77?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      J May 25, 2017

      Exactly

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Ed May 25, 2017

        No

        Reply
    • Avatar
      Russell May 25, 2017

      The 2016 version?

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Denvo May 26, 2017

      “Rotten Tomatoes is a Joke.”

      It’s amazing that people *still* think Rotten Tomatoes has anything to do with critics reviews. All the site does is aggregate other critics’ scores.

      ANyhow. Rotten Tomatoes is always “a joke” until they agree with you… right? Funny how that works.

      Reply
  3. Avatar
    Austin May 25, 2017

    (replying to J): Apparently, I need to clarify my first comment on this forum, so I’ll gladly do so.
    First, I know that Rotten Tomatoes is not the most accurate measurement of reviews (in fact, every source has a disadvantage that results in lowered accuracy) because it only indicates the amount of reviewers who gave a positive score (60 out of 100 or higher) of a given film by a given percent. If you check it through a computer or laptop through the official site, you’ll find an average review score (the method Metacritic, Cinemascore, and IMDB use). That average review score is the only thing from Rotten Tomatoes I don’t know, so if anyone finds that and compares it to the fourth one, let me know. Speaking of Metacritic, it’s down from Pirates 4 as well while IMDB is decreasing as more people see it. The movie’s actual premiere is tonight, and only then is that where everyone starts seeing it. Then, the Cinemascore sails into the fray.
    Next, I understand that the buzz for WW is just preliminary, but understand that the audience reactions from the first screenings of Pirates 5, Suicide Squad, and Batman v. Superman fall in the same category; they are preliminary. However, knowing that the critics didn’t respond to the first screenings of Suicide Squad, Batman v. Superman, and Pirates 5 compared to Wonder Woman, WW has more hope for a higher score. I also note that the audience during any first screening of a film primarily consists of die-hard fans, and that’s why those reactions are overwhelmingly positive in almost any case in comparison to the actual audience that sees the film when it releases.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      J May 25, 2017

      You didn’t clarify anything, you just restated what you had already said.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Austin May 25, 2017

        Then you didn’t exactly read my comment. Somewhere in there should be the following implication: the only audience that has seen the Pirates 5 yet is the audience of the first screenings (consisting primarily of die-hard fans) that view the movie vastly positively compared to the actual audience.
        Also, lets dispel with the exaggeration that Rotten Tomatoes is wrong for a moment here; the reality is that we either agree or disagree with Rotten Tomatoes because it’s assessment of a movie either agrees or disagrees with our assessment on that movie. To me, disagreeing with Rotten Tomatoes (believe me, I have my own disagreements with it) is part of a learning process, where we eventually realize that the most satisfying reviews to us are our own. Rotten Tomatoes projects just one out of numerous stances; any review (including our own) projects just one out of numerous stances. Just because Rotten Tomatoes hates Pirates 5 doesn’t mean you should too; just because you love or highly anticipate Pirates 5 doesn’t mean Rotten Tomatoes should too.

        Reply
        • Avatar
          J May 25, 2017

          I understand what you are saying, but I was saying there’s a disconnect between Rotten Tomatoes and general audiences. For example, only 1 out of four Pirates movies is considered fresh according to critics on Rotten Tomatoes, while so far 3 out of 4 have been liked and considered fresh by audiences. Again with Batman V Superman, audiences found it fresh, giving a score over 200% higher than Rotten Tomatoes gave it. Reviews will not take down this movie, and to say that critics matter more than audiences is to ignore the people who actually pay to see movies. This movie will make 800 million to 1 billion worldwide and will be considered a hit. There is no way Wonder Woman will even come close to those numbers.

          Reply
          • Avatar
            Ed May 25, 2017

            Still wrong

          • Avatar
            Austin May 25, 2017

            Domestically, Pirates 5, whatever opening it gets, will plummet on its second weekend. However, I do see a trend as to international totals that backs up what you’re saying: Critical reception seems to leave international totals unscathed. Many movies break even through worldwide totals even when they flop here in the US regardless of critical reception. That’s why even though it won’t break even here (It will barely reach if not fall short of $200 million on a budget of $230 million), it will break even through totals outside of the US. Also, some movies (like last year’s Warcraft) had a larger audience outside of the US, and I think that will be a major factor with Pirates 5. Unfortunately in the US, many people are cash-strapped and they rely on reviews such as those on Rotten Tomatoes to make their moviegoing decisions, which is why they’re considered a factor here.
            Right now, we’re dealing with predictions, which operate on the basis of guesstimating. We decide which factors are going to play out more than others and which factors are in play. We probably won’t be right and we probably will disagree, but it is just a prediction. I at least have fun with guessing how much money a movie will make and seeing what other people think. I at least have fun discussing whether movies like Pirates 5 will be more affected by hype or negative receptions and why I think something will affect the movie and in what way. I like comparing predictions to movies with a similar performance. I probably won’t be right, but I feel like I have strong enough reasons for my prediction. It’ll never be an exact science, but as long as there’s a future, there’s a guess.

          • Avatar
            Hugh May 25, 2017

            I’m sorry, but 800-1 billion? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Batman v Superman, a movie with much more hype going into it and a much larger fanbase than pirates, was killed by critics and couldn’t make it past 900 million. But pirates 5, a movie with a burnt out lead, relative unknowns, and Javier Bardem in like, 3 more scenes than the trailers show (according to the reviews) could TOTALLY make 1 billion. Considering Wonder Woman and the mummy, which come out in the next 2 weeks following pirates 5 have much more buzz, especially Wonder Woman, Disney will be lucky to break even. Remember, that $230 million doesn’t cover advertising, so with a big blockbuster, you’ll most likely spend around another $200 million on ads, and since the studios only get half of the revenue (other half goes to theaters) pirates 5 will have to make about 860 million to BREAK EVEN

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