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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

weekend box office: all ‘Pirates’ these days, and more to come

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest continues its rampage through box-office records, earning $35 million in its third weekend, far more than most movies make in their first. And it’s hauled in an astonishing $300 million in only 16 days (a new record), one of those mind-boggling numbers that almost demands to be broken down thusly: that an average of $18.75 million a day, $781,250 an hour, $13,021 per minute. ($217 per second — damn!)

I adore the movie (unlike A.O. Scott in The New York Times, who seems to feel a rather tortured defense of spoilsport thumbs-downing “film critics” is necessary even though the movie has a Rotten Tomatoes freshness rating of 54 percent, indicating that more than half the critics polled liked the movie enough to recommend it). But I’m still mystified — if delighted — at the film’s amazing success. Could it simply be a matter of Pure Disney Escapism + Air-Conditioned Movie Theaters During the Height of a Nationwide Heat Wave + Johnny Depp Is a Hoot? Or maybe it’s simply wrong to reduce that confluence of factors to a lucky break on the part of the filmmakers: perhaps this really is the ultimate summertime movie, a perfect storm of marketing and movie magic.



The poster for Pirates 3
or maybe not…

Can it all work again next year? Geeky fans, at least, are slavering — me included. ComingSoon.net reports that the lucky duckies at this week’s ComicCon in San Diego got a look at some early footage from the film — don’t click through if you don’t want to read even any minor spoilers. ComingSoon.net shows off the poster Disney let out for the con… though IGN Film Force suggested a coupla weeks ago that this was probably just a promo cobbled together for early PR (like, presumably, ComicCon). Both sources agree, though, that the film’s subtitle will not be At World’s End. Through my own impeccable sources, I can reveal other subtitles the flick will not bear. Among them:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Electric Boogaloo
Pirates of the Caribbean: Rise of the Machines
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Search for Spock
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Last Crusade
Pirates of the Caribbean: Return of the King
Pirates of the Caribbean: Against the World Crime League
Pirates of the Caribbean: With a Vengeance

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  • bats

    As your reviews are often included in the Rotten Tomatoes critics’ reviews, I’ve been wondering for some time now: who ultimately determines whether a film is Fresh or Rotten, the reviewer or the Tomato Masters? I thought that your full review of “Lady in the Water,” for example, was dubious at best, yet it garnered a cherry-red tomato next to your entry. I don’t know that your review was that positive. (Maybe, like your stoplight icons, RT needs a middling icon…maybe a slightly-squished tomato.)

  • MaryAnn Johanson

    I post my own links and make my own determination as to whether a film is Fresh or Rotten. It’s a tough call, sometimes, but generally I give the films that are in the upper half of the yellow-light section in my yearly ranking a Fresh.

  • David C

    As I’ve said before, there’s clearly one single factor that, when added to an adventure movie, makes it a sure-fire box office smash.

    I’m speaking, of course, of an evil monkey. Evil Monkeys = Summer Box Office!

    And the third movie should do even better (SPOILER WARNING!)

    “Jack the undead monkey in Chinese Warrior armor” – an evil *armored* monkey? You heard it here first – the highest box office gross of all time, adjusted for inflation or not!

  • No “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Phantom Menace”? :-)

  • MaryAnn

    You know, that damn stupid title — “The Phantom Menace” — is so nebulous it could apply to 75 percent of all movies ever made, including *Curse of the Black Pearl* and *Dead Man’s Chest.*

    Stupid Lucas…

  • Amy Jo

    Electric Boogaloo!! Is it wrong to admit that I had that movie on VHS and thought Turbo was cute?

    Now if we could get Cap’n Jack to break dance, that would be something to see.

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