What happens when the sequel to the most successful R rated comedy of all time is released on Memorial Day Weekend? The Hangover Part II happens, earning an estimated $86.48 million over three days, accounting for the biggest weekend ever for a live-action comedy. Kung Fu Panda 2 followed in second place, not quite living up to its predecessor, with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in third place. It's an unusual weekend though, as both Hangover and Panda opened on Thursday, and will continue making it rain through Monday.
Back in the days before audiences really gave a rat's ruby starfruit about box office grosses, conventional wisdom held that the sequel game was generally one of diminishing returns, with each new entry earning less money than the film that preceded it. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth installment of the franchise, opened with an estimated $90.1 million in its first three days. That haul qualifies the Johnny Depp vehicle as the biggest debut weekend of 2011 so far, but it also established that the Pirates series has been performed somewhat more like an old-fashioned franchise.
Captain Jack Sparrow is back! Opening in theaters today is the long awaited forth chapter of the beloved Pirates of the Caribbean series, this one entitled Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The first film in the series, 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, was based on the Disney theme park ride of the same name and surprised everyone by becoming a financial and critical hit, as well as rejuvenating Johnny Depp’s career and earning him his first Academy Award nomination. The filmmakers followed up on the success of the original movie by shooting two sequels back-to-back, ‘2006s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, as well as ‘2007s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. While both films were financial successes, neither movie scored as well with fans or critics as the first one.
But now, with the series having earned almost $2.6 billion worldwide up to this point, super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer (National Treasure), as well as actors Johnny Depp (Rango) and Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush (Shine) return once again to the popular Pirates franchise for another fun-packed thrill-ride. In addition to the return of Depp and Rush, the film welcomes several new cast members including Oscar winner Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) as Jack Sparrow’s love interest, and Ian McShane (TV’s Deadwood), as the film’s dangerous new villain. The series also gets a new director with this installment as Academy Award nominee Rob Marshall (Chicago) takes over the duties from Gore Verbinski, who directed the first three films in the franchise.
Warner Bros officially announced that production has commenced on Dark Shadows, the ensemble revival of the gothic 1960's soap opera. The film, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, Jackie Earle Haley, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Chloe Grace Moretz is now shooting across the pond in England. In the announcement, though, there's a bit of big news: Jonny Lee Miller has been cast as Roger Collins, the reprobate brother of Pfeiffer's character, Elizabeth Collins.
Prepare for an onslaught of articles starting with, "Hi-ho, Silver!" Back in April, Armie Hammer was revealed to be in talks with Disney and director Gore Verbinski to play the iconic western hero in The Lone Ranger, which will star Johnny Depp as the masked ranger's Native American sidekick Tonto. Since, then, casting talk has quieted down, with producer Jerry Bruckheimer staying mum on the reported casting. Now, no less a source than Variety reports that Hammer is "finalizing a deal" to star in his most high profile role yet.
For the two people in all of America who were not yet aware that this Friday sees the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Disney has released two behind-the-scenes featurettes on the fourth installment of the swashbucking uber-franchise starring Johnny Depp. The first focuses on the supporting players, including Penelope Cruz, Sam Claflin and returning actors Geoffrey Rush and Kevin McNally. The second offers new looks at Ian McShane's Blackbeard, his zombie crew, and the mermaids who terrorize unsuspecting pirates. Give 'em both a watch and shiver your timbers, whatever that means.
Even moreso than board games and toys, fairy tales are the new hotness these days. A big one being cooked up over at Disney is Maleficent, a variation on Sleeping Beauty which would tell the story from the perspective of the evil witch who curses the lovely princess. Angelina Jolie is attached to star as the not-so benevolent magical lady. After the billion dollar global gross of Alice in Wonderland, Disney naturally wanted Tim Burton to direct Maleficent, and he has flirted with the project. According to THR's Heat Vision, however, Burton has opted against directing this particular fairy tale revision.
The last few weeks have seen big summer movie debuts, with Fast Five pre-emptively cracking open the season and Thor following up with a respectable opening for a an arguably second-tier superhero. With very little competition from other beefy superheroic types, Thor held on to the top spot for a second week, earning an estimated $34.5 million. The big surprise this weekend was Bridesmaids; the raunchy wedding-themed comedy from Kristen Wiig exceeded all expectations in second place, with a projected $24.4 million opening gross.
For the world premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Disney kicked open the doors to Casa de Mikey and rolled out a Blackbeard-style black carpet at Disneyland. None other than Kermit the Frog was on hand as a special correspondent. This five minute 'Kermit-Cam' video of Kermit on the black carpet features the lead muppet rubbing elbows with Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz, Vanessa Hudgens, Teri Hatcher, and Ian McShane, among others. Well worth watching just to see Keith Richards lapse into giggles when confronted by Kermit.
Johnny Depp has wanted to do a new adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's novel 'The Thin Man' for a while now, and we've known since October that ideally, he would reteam with his Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides director Rob Marshall. Well, it seems that what Depp wants, Depp gets. Marshall is officially on board to direct Depp as witty drunk Nick Charles and his yet-to-be-cast wife Nora in The Thin Man.