After three record-breaking weekends, it would appear the other shoe is never going to drop for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. The continued adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow and a whole lot of commotion in the Caribbean remained atop the North American movie box office for the third straight weekend, liberating $35 million from the film-going public and lifting its total to $321.7 million after just 17 days.
Despite a dismal 54% rating by the nation’s film critics as collected on the Rotten Tomatoes site, Chest keeps rolling to record after record, and by now the critics can’t claim they haven’t had a chance to “warn” the public yet. The public just doesn’t seem to care much about what they have to say – a few examples from the cinematocracy:
“Gone is much of the humor and originality of the first movie”; “Rum, monotony, and the lash”; “It’s often unclear what’s going on, beyond a zillion dollars of splashy effects washing over the screen”; “This Disney movie isn’t a follow-up to the first Pirates of the Caribbean so much as its empty-calorie clone”; “Although there are memorable bits and pieces, the new Pirates of the Caribbean is a movie with no particular interest in coherence, economy or feeling.”
And frankly, the critics aren’t all wrong. Compared to the original Pirates, there is a lot more action and crazy CGI, less wit and character development, less nobility on display, and an even more complex but less clever plot involving Sparrow’s soul-debt to Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and issues with the East India Trading Company, ex-Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport) seeking to “get his life back,” cannibals, a voodoo queen, a humorless kraken, and an undead monkey.
But despite these dire warnings, the Johnny Depp swashbuckler sequel shows no sign of walking the plank, breaking a new record every weekend. It broke the all-time opening weekend record with $135.6 million, became the movie to reach $200 million most rapidly in its second weekend, and Saturday became the quickest to $300 million, beating the mark set last year by Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.
Dead Man’s Chest should top the $339.7 million domestic take of Finding Nemo to become Disney’s top-grossing movie ever within the next week. Many are the roguish smiles around the Disney plantation. “There are lots of plateaus for us to continue to strive for,” said Chuck Viane, Disney’s head of distribution.