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POM Wonderful Presents: The Ten Highest Grossing International Opening Weekends of All Time

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | May 22, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | May 22, 2011 |

It didn’t matter that enthusiasm for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides had waned in the United States, or that critics generally disliked it (although, most of us could agree: The Merpires were spectacular, if only the entire movie had been about them), the movie still managed to put up the biggest opening weekend of the year so far, with $90 million. But that’s well short of the opening weekend grosses for the previous two installments ($135 million and $114 million, respectively), even though (useless) 3D presentations padded the gross of the fourth film. But the bigger news for On Stranger Tides, and prima facie evidence that there will be a fifth movie, was the record-breaking international gross. On Stranger Tides did $256.3 million in its first five days, breaking the 2009 record of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In its first weekend alone, it’s mustered $346 million worldwide, which should be plenty to fund a horror movie spin-off based on those Merpires. Please? Seriously. And make them lesbian Merpires to give it that extra B-movie vibe.

Meanwhile, in better news, Bridesmaids held spectacularly well in its second weekend, losing only 19 percent of its first weekend audience, nearly unheard of during an era when movies typically make something like 40 percent of their total gross in the opening weekend (in fact, it’s the best hold for an R-rated comedy since Wedding Crashers). Bridesmaids is clearly a huge word of mouth hit, the biggest probably since The Hangover. After 10 days, it’s made nearly $60 million and could potentially keep trucking through June, as it’s one of those movies people go see a second time to take friends and family members.

Thor held on to number three, as its still putting up decent numbers, with $15 million (bringing its total to $145 million). Fast Five is padding its lead in the box-office race, adding $10 million to bring its year-best gross to $186 million. In fifth place, Rio tallied $4.6 million.

In limited release, Woody Allen had a resurrection in a big way, as his latest Midnight in Paris — starring Rachel McAdams and Owen Wilson, among others — amassed a whopping $579,000 in six theaters, good for over $92,000 per location. That’s the 15th highest average theater gross of all time. And Woody didn’t have the benefit of 3D glasses.

I might note in parting that, despite the publicity the documentary has generated, and the solid reviews that its left in its wake, nobody has seemed particularly interested in Morgan Spurlock’s The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. In its 5th week of release, it hasn’t even made $500,000 yet, and after adding 24 locations, it dropped 16 percent this week. In 81 theaters, it only made about $500 per location. That’s about 50 people per theater, over the entire weekend. Of the top 30 films, only Scream 4 in its sixth week had a worse per screen average. POM Wonderful would’ve been better off sponsoring Meek’s Cutoff.

Alas, as promised in the headline, I leave you with the 10 Highest Grossing International Opening Weekends of All Time. As box-office lists go, it’s not a particularly surprising or interesting list.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: $256 million
2. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: $236 million
3. Spider-Man 3: $230 million
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End: $216 million
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part One): $205 million
6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: $193 million
7. 2012: $165 million
8. Avatar: $164 million
9. The Da Vinci Code: $155 million
10. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: $151 million

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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