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Old July 9th, 2006, 05:28 PM  
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Join Date: June 30, 2004
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Default Move over Spiderman...The Captain is here to Stay

All Reuters Movie News

"Pirates" plunders box office, sets record
Sunday July 9 3:00 PM ET

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" raked in a lot of doubloons at North American theaters over the weekend, making a record $132 million in its first three days, according to studio estimates issued on Sunday.

Walt Disney Co.'s adventure sequel, starring Johnny Depp as the flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow, surpassed industry expectations of an opening in the $100 million range. The previous three-day record of $115 million was set by "Spider-Man" in May 2002.

The "Pirates" haul of $55.5 million during its first day of release on Friday also set a record for single-day sales, beating the $50 million earned on a Thursday in May 2005 by "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith."

"Pirates" played strongly across all age groups, Disney said. The studio said people were buying tickets for multiple screenings on the same day.

By contrast, 2003's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" opened with $46.8 million, and ended up with $305 million domestically. Both films were directed by Gore Verbinski. Also returning to the cast were British actors Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom. A third film is scheduled for release next year.

As has been the case this summer, there was a wide disconnect between critics and consumers. A New York Times review said the film "batters you with novelty and works so hard to top itself that exhaustion sets in long before the second hour is over."

"Superman Returns" slipped to No. 2, making $21.9 million in its second weekend and taking the Man of Steel's 12-day tally to $141.7 million. Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc., said it expected the movie to reach $200 million.

The two film franchises helped the overall box office post higher year-on-year sales for an eighth consecutive weekend, according to tracking firm Exhibitor Relations. The top 12 films earned $206.5 million, the sort of figure usually reached during a four-day holiday.

Rounding out this weekend's top five were Twentieth Century Fox's fashion industry satire "The Devil Wears Prada" with $15.8 million; Columbia Pictures' Adam Sandler comedy "Click" with $12 million; and Disney's Pixar-produced cartoon "Cars" with $10.3 million.

Fox is a unit of News Corp. Columbia Pictures is a unit of Sony Corp .

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