Weekend Movie Preview (5.20.11)

Yo ho, yo ho, it’s “Pirates” you’re forced to see.

Can you blame any studio for not wanting to go head-to-head with the fourth installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise? Expect audiences to turn out in droves for Captain Jack’s newest adventure, which wipes the slate of the original trilogy with exception of a few noteworthy familiar faces. Although a Memorial Day release would be ideal, this is “Pirates” we’re talking about, so expect big things regardless.

New This Week

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Directed by Rob Marshall
Written by Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio
Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane

Summary: Capt. Jack Sparrow and Barbossa are off to discover the Fountain of Youth, fitting seeing as how vain and selfish they are. Trouble is, Blackbeard the pirate (McShane) is after the very same thing.

The Word: The franchise continues after a few years off and with a relatively new cast of characters. The biggest change might be new director Rob Marshall, known for his elaborate musicals (“Chicago” and “Nine”). But with Johnny Depp and the same writers in tact, expect the same-old familiar antics, not that that’s a bad thing. Cruz and McShane should add some more color to the cast as well.

Rotten Tomatoes: 38% (not good)

My Thoughts: With decent early buzz from what I heard yet a Rotten Tomatoes score of 38%, “On Stranger Tides” sounds like a crowd-pleaser that fans will love that everyone else is unmoved by. Although I would have expected some freshness, it seems that the same formula is still at work, which has earned this film poor critical reception.

Recommendation: If you love the franchise and believe “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is good enough for you, a must see. Casual fans who felt the franchise was slipping might be able to wait for later.

Box Office Predictions

Considering last weekend was a downer weekend in terms of exciting new releases, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides could win the box office in its sleep. Even if it makes significantly less than the last installment, “At World’s End,” ($114.7 million)  it would still come in first. I’m going to say $100 million. I don’t think it will do as well as it did before the hiatus, but it has no competition and a huge fan base. I’m not, however, confident enough to say it will handily beat “Fast Five’s” $86 million, just because we’ve seen examples of films coming off hiatus “Scream 4” that tanked. At the same time, since “Thor” performed just okay, the summer movie season has yet to completely explode and it seems right that “Pirates” break the $100-million barrier.

I’m going to go bold for second place, however. Bridesmaids will beat out Thor despite it being the other way around this past weekend. “Bridesmaids” will remain a great date option with such positive buzz, whereas “Thor” will continue to drop significantly with “Pirates” in the fold. It will be neck-and-neck however. Both should finish with $18-20 million.

Fast Five looks good in fourth place with about $10-12 million this weekend and I like Rio (should’ve considered that last week) to stay in fifth again with no family film competition. It should just beat out “Priest,” which will drop far even with a poor performance last weekend.


1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
2. Bridesmaids
3. Thor
4. Fast Five
5. Rio



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