Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is tracking to set sail at the domestic box office with $90 million or more over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, roughly on par with the last film in the franchise, according to prerelease tracking.
The fifth outing in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced series once again features a zany performance by Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Depp could use a win at the box office after a generally tough run, including last summer's sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, which bombed over Memorial Day.
Dead Men Tell No Tales should have no trouble beating the other Memorial Day offering, Paramount's action comedy Baywatch, which is tracking to post an OK $37 million-$40 million in its five-day debut. (It opens on a Thursday.) Pirates by definition is a broader play, considering Baywatch is R-rated. Bullish box-office observers believe both films could come in higher than early tracking suggests, noting that Disney and Paramount have three weeks left to make their final marketing push.
Directed by Seth Gordon, Baywatch is loosely based on the television series of the same name and stars Dwayne Johnson alongside Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario and Kelly Rohrbach. Comparisons to Baywatch are tough. In summer 2016, Johnson and Kevin Hart's action comedy Central Intelligence debuted to $35.5 million domestically.
It has been six years since Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides played in theaters on its way to grossing $1 billion globally, the majority of which it earned overseas. This time out, Pirates is directed by Hollywood studio newcomers Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, who directed the critically acclaimed 2012 film Kon-Tiki.
Other returning castmembers include Kevin McNally and Geoffrey Rush. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley also return after sitting out the fourth film. Franchise newcomers include Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario.
In making Dead Men Tell No Tales, Ronning and Sandberg said they took their inspiration from the first movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which was a runaway hit at the box office, grossing $305.4 million domestically and $654.3 million globally in 2003.
The second film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, opened to $135.6 million domestically in July 2006, followed by a massive four-day gross of $140.8 million over Memorial Day in 2007.
The summer box office officially gets under way this weekend with the debut of Disney and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The quirky superhero sequel is tipped to earn as much as $150 million.