Pirates sink the Baywatch ship at the US box office

2017-05-29 08:48

Los Angeles — It was smooth sailing to the top spot at the box office for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, but the waters were choppier for the Dwayne Johnson comedy Baywatch.

Studio estimates on Sunday say the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise commandeered $62.2m in its first three days in theatres.

The Johnny Depp-starrer is projected to take in $76.6m over the four-day holiday weekend.

It was the second-lowest domestic opening for the nearly $4bn franchise, but the latest film, which cost a reported $230m to produce, has massive international appeal. Its four-day global total is expected to hit $300m.

Having the majority of profits come from international receipts is not worrying Walt Disney Studios.

"This is a trend that we've seen play out over the course of these films," said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution for Disney. "Pirates is a huge spectacle film of the kind that international audiences continue to be drawn toward ... but the domestic response also shows that the audience for this film is clearly there."

The R-rated Baywatch, meanwhile, is sinking like a rock. The critically derided update of the 1990s TV show earned only $18.1m over the weekend against a nearly $70 m price tag. 

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Even Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did better in its fourth weekend. The space opera added $19.9m to take second place ahead of Baywatch at the box office.

The Baywatch miss could be attributable to a couple of factors. Even with the star power of Johnson, R-rated Hollywood updates to family friendly television shows have a dubious track record, ComScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said.

Earlier this year, Dax Shepard's R-rated update of CHiPs tanked, netting only $18.6m domestically against a $25m budget.

This month's box office has also been tough on nearly every film except Guardians of the Galaxy.

"Baywatch doesn't stand alone as a casualty in this marketplace," Dergarabedian said. "It's joining a cadre of other films that have underperformed."

Even the decently reviewed Alien: Covenant dropped an uncommonly steep 71% in its second weekend in theaters to take fourth place with $10.5m. The teen romance Everything, Everything rounded out the top five with $6.2m.

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"Hollywood needs June to save the box office world," Dergarabedian said.

First up to that challenge: Wonder Woman.

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