Pirates pulls in $43 mn but misses opening-day record

Los Angeles, May 28 | Updated: May 29 2007, 05:30am hrs
Johnny Depp and his pirate friends pulled in a lot of plunder, but fell far short of a record opening day.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End raked in $43 million domestically on Friday, well behind the $59.3 million opening day for Spider-Man 3 just three weeks earlier, according to studio estimates on Saturday.

The numbers for At Worlds End were skewed somewhat because the Walt Disney Co had preview screenings at about 3,000 theaters on Thursday night in advance of the movies official Friday release.

The movie pulled in $14 million at those screenings, putting its domestic total at $57 million in just over a day. Without the Thursday screenings, much of that business would have been done on Friday instead, putting At Worlds End in range of the top single-day grosses.

Spider-Man 3, released by Sony Corp, had broken the single-day box-office record of $55.8 million set last July by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest, part two in the action-comedy franchise starring Depp as boozy buccaneer Jack Sparrow.

Making $57 million in a day and a half is not bad for a bunch of pirates, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. Had all those preview numbers been folded into Friday, it would have maybe been the second-biggest single day in history.

At Worlds End also grossed $44.4 million on Friday in 102 international markets. That put its worldwide total at $142.5 million since it began rolling out overseas on Wednesday.

Despite opening in a record 4,362 theaters, At Worlds End is unlikely to break the all-time high for a three-day weekend, also held by Spider-Man 3 with $151.1 million, said Chuck Viane, Disney head of distribution.

Spider-Man 3 snatched the record away from the Pirates franchise, which had set a new high of $135.6 million with Dead Mans Chest.

Viane said the record Disney aimed for is best four-day Memorial Day weekend debut. That record is held by last years X-Men: The Last Stand with $122.9 million.