Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, Dead Man's Chest, shattered the all-time North American weekend opening box office record with a three-day treasure haul of $132 million. The previous record was held by 2002's Spider-Man, which took in $114.8 million in its first weekend. Astonishingly, Dead Man's Chest took in almost three times the $46 million the first film in the series, The Curse of the Black Pearl, captured in its first weekend in 2003.
This should not imply that the new one is a three-times better film, however.
"When people in the industry predicted these high numbers, I thought they were just trying to be mean. So no matter how good we did, if we did $100 million, we'd be failures," Bruckheimer told AP on Sunday. "I didn't think we'd get near these numbers."
For the numerically-obsessed, Chest also busted the opening day record, stashing away $55.5 million Friday to beat the previous single-day record of $50 million, set just last year by Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. The return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow also generated $44.7 million on Saturday, thereby becoming the first movie to top $100 million in just two days.
By way of comparison, Dead Man's Chest plundered nearly double the total of the rest of the top 12 films combined. The previous weekend's top film, Superman Returns, fell to number two with $21.85 million, down 58 percent from opening weekend.
My family experienced a graphic demonstration of these numbers. Since we — our six- and two-year-olds, my wife and I — love the first Pirates film so, having watched the DVD version well over a dozen times, we figured we would head on out to the nearest drive-in, about a half-hour away, to take in the new film on opening night in the comfort of our mini-van. The four of us have never gone to a film on opening day, nor gone to the drive-in, but it just seemed like the thing to do on a pleasant summer night so we tossed caution to the winds.