Thursday, 19 May 2011

Pirates of The Caribbean: Curse of the sequels myth.

So the fourth Pirates of The Caribbean movie is out (or about to come out depending on which country you’re in) and you’re either over the moon that it’s back or couldn’t care less. Either way the chances are you’ve read or heard that nobody really liked the last 2 Pirates movies; in fact that most fans hated them. You’ll have heard this stated as some kind of well known and unarguable fact. Well I’m arguing.

First of all there’s the good old Box office. Look at the Matrix Sequels; the second film (Reloaded) was pretty much despised by a large number of Matrix fans. Even so, because of the immense popularity of the first film, plus a certain amount of “I don’t care what people say, I have to see this for myself”, it made a huge amount of money ($742,128,461). However, despite Reloaded’s cliff-hanger ending, ther opening for Revolutions was over 50% lower than Reloaded and the final gross dropped some 43% from film to film (427,343,298). Compare that to the Pirates series. Like the Matrix the first Pirates sequel had a massive increase in takings compared to the first film. It went from $654,264,15 for POTC:CoTBP to a whopping $1,066,179,725 for POTC:DMC! Now once you have a moive that makes that kind of money how do you judge a sequel as successful or not? Well it seems a drop of just under 10% to $963,420,425 is supposed to demonstrate some kind of failure. (???) I’m not buying that at all, especially when you consider that the all of that %10 comes from the drop in takings in N. America alone. POTC: AWE actually made slightly more ($11,136,087 more) overseas than Dead Man’s Chest.

Now that difference may explain a lot. Much of the entertainment media reporting is Hollywood centric, either being American based or taking their information from there. It’s one of the reasons many Americans still believe The Golden Compass was a flop. It only managed to make $70m there compared to the $302m it made everywhere else. Or even The Chronicles of Narnia:The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; $102m N.America VS $310m+ everywhere else.

See More on The Golden Compass here:-

Fantasy Films sell much better outside of America than in it and Fantasy films without the words Harry Potter or Lord of The Rings in them are very risky indeed. T’s also why Thor will end up making much more money outside N. America than it. (Not that it is doing poorly well in America, it is, but it’s atypical for an American super hero movie in that it will make much more money internationally) Whereas the first Pirates was an adventure Pirate movie with supernatural elements, films 2 & 3 were full blown fantasy films full of nautical mythology and maybe, maybe that they didn’t go down quite as well there. Of course maybe it isn’t, what’s perhaps most in important is that even with that big drop in N American takings from 2 to 3 (about 75% and still far less of a drop than Matrix 2 – 3) the film made a lot of money both in cinemas AND at home.

Here’s the final pointer to the unpopular Pirate talk being a myth. The DVD sales for the second movie were higher than they were for the first film and sales for film 3 were only 7.5% lower than film 2. So if the films were so hated, why did so many people buy them? (Sold over $300m worth not including Blu-Ray)

So does that sound like a film that “most people hated” to you?

I may bust some more movie myths in the not to distant future, but for now I’m about to see if this 4th Pirates movie is up to the rest.

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