Thursday, May 30, 2024

Movies: A Memorial Day Box Office In Memoriam as “Baywatch,” “Pirates” Flop


The good news for Disney is that “Pirates of the Caribbean” has made $270 worldwide. The bad news is that in this country, very few people cared. The domestic total for three (really four) days is $62 million. The opening weekend take in 2011 for the last “Pirates” movie was $90 million. You do the math.

In 2011, “Pirates 4” was in its second week on Memorial Day weekend. The number 1 movie for the holiday was “The Hangover 2.” It made $85 million. You do the math.

Franchise movies– endless sequels no one cares about, made for the money only — are coming to an end. This is their “Twilight,” so to speak. A whole generation of moviegoers is wiped out on the cynicism of it all. In the case of “Pirates,” the enervating feel of more of the same swashbuckling is combined with knowing you gave Johnny Depp all that money so he could squander it on crap and a bad short marriage.

Meanwhile, Paramount has to deal with “Baywatch” the way Warners lived with “CHiPS.” Why are we making movies out of terrible TV? There must be a few good ideas out there. “Baywatch” brought home $18 million this weekend. It cost, they say, $69 million. We’ll say $80 million. Still water, not waves, killed it. I’m not sure I’ll ever watch it on an airplane.

The next month brings “Wonder Woman,” “The Mummy,” another “Transformers” movie, and another “Spider Man” Movie. It all seems underwhelming…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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