The Top Five
#1 “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” ($142 million)
#2 “Shrek the Third” ($69 million)
#3 “Spider-Man 3” ($18 million)
#4 “Bug” ($4.2 million)
#5 “Waitress” ($4 million)
It was the biggest launch in history, a staggering and majestic display of might and number but in the end, didn’t it all feel just a tad bit anti-climatic? No, we’re not talking about the ending of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” but about the Memorial Day weekend box-office battle, a once-in-a-lifetime showdown between blockbuster behemoths that ended with a pair of flagships seemingly circling a giant drain.
Now that the smoke has cleared on the battlefield of May, let’s take a look at the combatants:
“Spider-Man 3” (The Black Pearl)
The fastest ship in the Sony armada, “Spider-Man 3” raced out early to claim the biggest opening weekend in history. After watching both “Shrek the Third” and “Pirates” fall far short of the mark, we’re beginning to think Spidey’s $151 three-day haul might be uncatchable. Like the Black Pearl, however, Spidey has this nagging problem of losing half its crew at every stop. For the third weekend in a row, Spidey fell more than 50 percent, finishing with $14.2 million for the three-day weekend ($18 million including Monday). It finally crawled past $300 million in 24 days, five days longer than it took “Spider-Man” to hit the mark and two days longer than it took “Spider-Man 2.” Despite its menacing speed out of the gate, the third Spidey will wind up, domestically, the lowest grossing of the series.
“Shrek the Third” (The Flying Dutchman)
It’s crewed by an army of the undead, computer-generated characters who don’t age, don’t revolt, and most importantly, are designed to perfectly reflect their surroundings. (Is there a cooler metaphor for “makes pop-culture jokes” than that?) “Shrek the Third” powered its way to a $122 million opening, a record for an animated feature and the third-highest of all time. But with $69 million over the four-day weekend, the irascible ogre fell 43 percent — a far cry from the 12 percent the second film fell over the same period three years ago. Be still my beating heart — it might be time for a change of captains if this seemingly never-ending franchise is to continue forever.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (The Endeavor)
With the largest launch of all time (4,362 theaters), “Pirates” stood, like the East India Company flagship, ready to take over the world. Alas, it was blown to bits by the combined power of the Dutchman and the Pearl. OK, not exactly. But with $115 million from Friday through Sunday and $142 million over the four-day holiday, the third installment in the “Pirates” series came up far short of last year’s “Dead Man’s Chest” and behind this month’s openings for both “Shrek” and “Spider-Man.” It’s not time to walk the plank yet, though. With $156.1 million including Thursday previews, “Pirates” snagged the biggest Memorial Day booty in history, and, with an estimated $245 million internationally, the second-largest global opening ever.
How’d We Do?
It pains us. It really does. And not because we don’t like the guy — we do — but because he had a little fun at our expense last week when we asked him to participate in our contest (see “Pirates Are Looking To Loot Spider-Man And Shrek, In Projection Booth“ ). But that said, we have no choice but to award the crown to Jerry Springer, who came closest to the final “Pirates” tally with a prediction of $127 million. I can’t say I blame Larry and Josh for their optimistic projections, but — no, you know what, I do blame them [throws chair].
Sorry, got a little carried away there thinking about Jerry.
Prognosticator (Weeks Won)
Josh Horowitz, MTV Movies editor (15)
Larry Carroll, MTV News writer (9)
Celebrity guests (6)
Can we finally call these numbers set? Please? Pretty please with sugar on top? After a crazy May, this is the third time in as many weeks that we’ve rewritten the record books. Is there another film on the horizon that can crack this top five? God, we hope not. Here are the top five highest-grossing opening weekends of all time:
#1 “Spider-Man 3” ($151.1 million)
#2 “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” ($135.6 million)
#3 “Shrek the Third” ($121.6 million)
#4 “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” ($115 million)
#5 “Spider-Man” ($114.8 million)
Get a babysitter and leave the kiddies at home, next week is for the adults. Two R-rated movies open in wide release: “Mr. Brooks,” a crime thriller starring Kevin Costner and Demi Moore, and “Knocked Up,” Judd Apatow’s follow-up to “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” with Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl.
Catch the latest on the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, including exclusives from host Sarah Silverman, nominee and presenter announcements, photos, highlights from years past and much more at MovieAwards.mtv.com And don’t forget to grab the popcorn and tune in to the big show when it airs live — for the first time ever! — Sunday, June 3, at 8 p.m. ET.
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