Pirates swaggers to record takings
The Pirates Of The Caribbean sequel On Stranger Tides has found its smoothest sailing overseas, where it took in a record 256.3 million dollars at the international box office, according to studio estimates.
That surpasses the previous record opening of the sixth Harry Potter film, 2009's Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, which earned 236 million dollars internationally.
Walt Disney co said On Stranger Tides, the fourth Pirates instalment, earned 90.1 million dollars in the US. Its combined worldwide total is 346.4 million, the fourth largest global opening ever.
The new 3D film jettisons co-stars Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, but brings back Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Chicago director Rob Marshall takes the helm from Gore Verbinski, who directed the trilogy. Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane introduce new characters.
It was a risky reboot considering the popularity of the previous Pirates" films. The last, 2007's At World's End, opened with 114.7 million dollars.
For Disney, which has expansive merchandising and theme park tie-ins to Pirates Of The Caribbean, it's a crucial franchise. The first three movies earned a combined 2.7 billion dollars worldwide.
"The whole play of this particular movie was based on a worldwide release because of our feeling of how strong the international marketplace would be," said Chuck Viane, head of distribution at Disney. "Johnny is not just a domestic star. Johnny is an international star."