Weekend Forecast: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ & ‘Baywatch’

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and with it come the debuts of a major franchise sequel and the latest TV-to-film adaptation. Following May’s annual first weekend tentpole, the extended holiday frame has often served as a second launching pad into the heart of summer box office as families begin vacations and schools begin to go on break for the season. However, sometimes the holiday weekend has delivered its share of under-performers as crowds opt for the beach or other forms of entertainment. How will things pan out this year? Our final analysis and forecast for this weekend’s openers:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Disney

PROS:

  • Captain Jack Sparrow remains one of the most iconic characters to come out of the modern blockbuster era. Fans of the franchise are eager to take another adventure with Johnny Depp’s swashbuckler after a six-year hiatus.  The return of Orlando Bloom’s William Turner is another factor that has boosted fan interest.
  • Social media reactions to trailers have been largely positive, particularly following the film’s full screening at CinemaCon back in March.
  • The lack of breakout hits since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 earlier this month means the market is relatively open going into the weekend.
  • Traditional tracking metrics have been fairly healthy for this sequel, generating interest trends comparable to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug — another fifth installment of a venerable franchise that began in the early 2000s.
  • Almost regardless of domestic performance — where a $200+ million finish is looking unlikely again unless word of mouth drastically counters that of critical reception — overseas returns should be strong enough to guarantee financial success for this film given the franchise’s history (the previous film earned 77 percent of its worldwide gross outside North America). Based on opening markets this weekend, a global debut between $235 million and $250 million is the studio’s current target launch.

CONS:

  • As with almost any series five films in, there’s no denying some underlying franchise fatigue among more casual viewers of this franchise. The previous installment, On Stranger Tides, already fell victim to diminishing returns at the domestic box office.
  • Unfortunately, the film’s poor 35 percent Rotten Tomatoes score as of this writing isn’t likely to sway many of the casual viewers feeling said fatigue after the fourth film.
  • On the somewhat flipped side of tracking comparisons, pre-release interest levels are trailing those of last year’s Memorial opener, X-Men: Apocalypse.
  • Buzz for next week’s Wonder Woman continues to heat up on an impressive level. Combined with underwhelming reviews, that could be an outside factor in depressing attendance for this franchise sequel on a holiday weekend when many families have alternate entertainment options.

Baywatch
Paramount

PROS:

  • By far this film’s strongest advantage on the domestic front is leading man Dwayne Johnson, who has proven to be one of the most reliable box office draws among men and women in recent years with successes like San AndreasCentral IntelligenceJourney 2: The Mysterious Island, and of course, the Fast & Furious franchise under his belt.
  • The Jump Street films have proven that R-rated comedy is a viable genre for TV-to-film adaptations in an effort to extend appeal to younger audiences not as familiar with the source material.
  • Facebook activity is particularly strong with more than twice the number of fans at the same point before release as Central Intelligence and 21 Jump Street.
  • Produced on a budget between $65-70 million (per the studio), the road to success doesn’t require major breakout numbers from North America given the franchise’s broader appeal internationally. The original television show is one of the most successful of all-time in overseas markets.

CONS:

  • Unfortunately, reviews are in the cellar at 16 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s possible this could be partly critic-proof during opening weekend, but audiences are increasingly mindful of pre-release word of mouth these days.
  • Marketing has aimed to strike similar tones as Jump Street and Neighbors, but the consensus is less enthusiastic than it was before those films released.
  • Industry tracking shows the film’s interest levels behind those of comparable comedies like Central Intelligence, the Neighbors and Jump Street series, and The Hangover Part III.

Check out our four-day weekend forecast in the table below.

Title Distributor 4-Day Weekend Domestic Total through Monday, May 29 % Change
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Disney $83,000,000 $83,000,000 NEW
Baywatch Paramount $32,500,000 $40,000,000 NEW
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Disney $24,110,000 $340,000,000 -30%
Alien: Covenant Fox $16,270,000 $65,820,000 -55%
Everything, Everything Warner Bros. $8,210,000 $23,470,000 -30%
Snatched Fox $6,270,000 $42,780,000 -20%
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul Fox $5,130,000 $14,420,000 -28%
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Warner Bros. $4,650,000 $35,890,000 -35%
The Boss Baby Fox $2,420,000 $170,010,000 -15%
The Fate of the Furious Universal $2,330,000 $223,660,000 -28%
Beauty and the Beast (2017) Disney $2,040,000 $501,170,000 -20%
How to be a Latin Lover Pantelion $1,230,000 $31,170,000 -40%

Shawn Robbins and Alex Edghill contributed to this report.

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