Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides delivered the largest domestic debut of 2011 thus far and was much stronger internationally.

$90.15 Million Start for ‘On Stranger Tides’

on May 23, 2011 by Daniel Garris

Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides debuted in first place this weekend with $90.15 million. While that was on the lower end of the film's massive domestic expectations, the expensive blockbuster sequel starring Johnny Depp was much bigger internationally where it grossed a record-breaking $256.3 million. That placed the film's worldwide launch at a massive $346.5 million, which represented the fourth largest worldwide debut of all time. With Paramount's Kung Fu Panda 2 and Warner's The Hangover Part II both only days away, it was especially important for On Stranger Tides to gross as much as it could this weekend.

The domestic start for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides represented the largest opening weekend of 2011 date, as it topped the recent $86.20 million debut of Universal's Fast Five. However, it should be noted that On Stranger Tides had the advantage of 3D surcharges, whereas Fast Five did not. On Stranger Tides registered the twelfth largest domestic opening weekend ever in the month of May (without taking into account ticket price inflation). The film opened weaker than 2007's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which opened with $114.73 million (after grossing an additional $13.24 million in Thursday night grosses).

The international launch for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was led by a record-breaking $28.6 million performance in Russia. Other key international grosses included $20.0 million in China, $19.5 million in the United Kingdom and Ireland, $19.4 million in Germany, $18.2 million in Japan and $14.8 million in France.

After holding up well during the midweek, Universal's Bridesmaids experienced a terrific second weekend hold to claim second place again this weekend. The modestly budgeted break-out comedy grossed $20.88 million, which was down a slim 20 percent from the film's better than expected opening weekend performance. This weekend's hold for Bridesmaids was even more impressive when considering the addition of On Stranger Tides in the marketplace. Bridesmaids has grossed $59.34 million in ten days, placing it an impressive 47 percent ahead of the pace of 2008's What Happens in Vegas... At this rate Bridesmaids is set to sail well past the $100 million domestic milestone.

Paramount's Thor fell two spots and a sharp 55 percent to land in third with $15.46 million. After a solid hold last weekend, the superhero adaptation from Marvel clearly took a direct hit from On Stranger Tides this weekend. With Kung Fu Panda, Hangover and X-Men films soon to enter the marketplace, the competition certainly won't get any easier for Thor going forward. The 17-day total for Thor stands at $145.36 million, placing it 25 percent ahead of the pace of 2008's The Incredible Hulk and 35 percent behind the pace of 2008's Iron Man (neither of which had the advantage of 3D surcharges).

Holding up a bit better was Fast Five. The blockbuster sequel fell 47 percent to claim fourth place with $10.58 million. Fast Five has now grossed $186.17 million through 24 days of release, leaving the film just $13.83 million from reaching the $200 million domestic milestone. Fast Five continued to be a force at the international box office, where it grossed $25.0 million from 61 foreign markets this weekend. That brings the film's international total to $320.0 million and worldwide total to $506.2 million.

On the platform front, Midnight in Paris made a big impact by grossing $599,003 from just 6 locations in New York and Los Angeles. The Woody Allen directed film from Sony Pictures Classics generated the most impressive platform launch of any 2011 release thus far, as it earned a whopping per-location average of $99,834. The platform start of Midnight in Paris was far more impressive than that of 2009's Whatever Works, which debuted with $266,162 from 9 locations (for a per-location average of $29,574).

Tags: Midnight in Paris, Fast Five, Thor, Bridesmaids, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

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