Johnny Depp is the new Jerry Lewis; Europe loves him in the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. International sales pushed the movie’s debut weekend take north of $256 million, but the film’s domestic outing was disappointing.
The weekend domestic box was $90.1 million, short by 10 percent of the $100M weekend Disney was projecting and well off the $114 million three-day opening of the last “Pirates” movie over the 2007 Memorial Day holiday, according to Deadline.com
North American audiences appeared to be a little weary of Depp’s Capt. Jack Sparrow shtick and may have been reacting to poor reviews of the movie.
The film only received a lowly 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a Web site that tracks media film reviews.
“Depp, grimacing, edges in and out of the action and seems irrelevant and bored most of the time,” writes David Denby in the New Yorker.
“Stranger tides? Stranger than what? What’s strange, or fresh, about any of the mechanical diversions on offer here?” adds Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune.
Still, 71 percent of those who saw the picture said they liked it, according to Rotten Tomatoes, which gives Disney some hope word-of-mouth advertising will keep the turnstiles turning.
Disney opened the movie big, in 4,155 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. Of those 2,747 are 3D locations including 256 IMAX theaters, a record for a 3D film.
Adding new faces to the film, in this case Penelope Cruz, who played Sparrow’s love interest, proved to be a smart move.
As if to add further evidence that Depp’s character may be getting a little shopworn, more than 60 percent of 2,000 ticket buyers surveyed by Fandango said they went to see Cruz in the film.
With “Hangover Part 2” and “Kung Fu Panda 2” debuting this weekend, Deadline speculates that Pirates 4 will have a tough time pulling in $300 million domestically like its three predecessors.
Incidentally Jerry Lewis was a hugely popular comedian and actor in the 1950s and ’60s who eventually fell out of favor with U.S. audiences from over exposure. But Europeans never lost their love for his brand of humor.