Film Dollar (hey!) Per Screen Total
1 PotC: At World’s End $142,055,000 $32,566 $156,055,000
2 Shrek the Third $69,085,000(-43.2%) $16,559 $219,424,000
3 Spider-Man 3
$18,000,000 (-38.0%) $4,834 $307,642,000
4 Bug $4,200,000 $2,528 $4,200,000
5 Waitress $4,000,000 (+270.0%) $7,843 $6,517,000
6 28 Weeks Later $3,300,000 (-39.5%) $1,639 $24,421,000
7 Disturbia $2,404,000 (-35.6%) $1,473 $74,914,000
8 Georgia Rule $2,380,000 (-36.5%) $1,250 $16,805,000
9 Fracture $1,600,000 (-29.8%) $1,764 $37,124,000
10 Wild Hogs $1,440,000 (+241.0%) $3,380 $163,263,000

Spider-Man 3 did over $150 million in its opening 72 hours. In four and a half days Pirates beat that! Oh wait. Hold up. Shit.

Let’s contextualize.

Pirates plundered an awesome booty, no question. But here is the conundrum of the modern blockbuster. Pirates cost around $300 to make. And after this weekend I think it’s fair to say that none of the May blockbusters are going to get to $400 Million (Shrek has the best chance). Next week is a vacuum suck of a weekend, and though Kocked Up should do well, most everything should take a big-ass hit. June is often a weak month for releases, or has been over the last couple years, whereas the big guns tend to go at the beginning of May, Memorial Day, or gear towards the Fourth of July. But next week offers three wide releases (Knocked Up, Gracie, and Mr. Brooks), and the real summer season begins.

When it came to this weekend, I thought that Shrek 3 would do Shrek 2 business, instead we got a weekend where the top ten in total did well over $200 million, but not close to $300 Mil. In fact, Wild Hogs in its Sub-run in dollar theaters ended up recracking the top ten. People kinda love that film, don’t they?

Bug did shit business, but that was to be expected. The big surprise for people not me is the bump of Waitress, which cracked the top five. I’ve said it might be the indie hit of the summer, and with an expansion run, it showed some pretty impressive gams. Waitress said "I know what boys want, I know what they like. They want to stay up, and party all night." So bring a friend.

Otherwise, let me say this for Pirates. It’s still a great gross, it’s not a disappointment, and the reason why Disney went with the Thursday night opening was to booster a film which had a three hour running time. But the big money picture of this franchise is likely the middle film, and – again – I don’t think it can crack four hundred at this point.

I was at a party with a bunch of nerds (including the board’s own Sean Bateman) this weekend, and this very film came up. Would you believe a bunch of geeks were talking about weekend grosses? We ended up gearing towards talking about cultural weight, and the way that cinema exists now, for better or worse, is for ephemeral pleasures. When Star Wars came out it played for a year or longer in some theaters. Nowadays a film, regardless if it does $100 Million plus in its opening weekend, is done after six weeks. And the last film to truly "play long" was My Big Fat Greek Wedding. That doesn’t mean I don’t love Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, or A History of Violence, but most modern releases don’t have that cultural weight. Is this a good thing, bad thing? Russ wrote recently on the site about cinema preservation, something I agree with in theory. But with so many DVDs of marginal films getting double dipped (the kings of this are still the Directors cuts of The New Guy and The Animal), I wish more films could fall off the face of the earth. But that’s just me. Star Wars opened thirty years ago, and it managed to transcend the geek barrier to be a pop culture phenomenon. Then again, the geeks took it and had their way with it. I remember being seven, at the Clackamas Town Center, where my mom was teaching ice skating, and I wandered around the mall, mostly spending time at the library (where I read the comic book adaptation of Creepshow). Two nerds were standing in front of a projection screen at the malls high end video store, which was projecting Lucas’s finest achievement, reciting the lines before they happened in the film (which had recently hit video). That was a very formative moment in my life. And though I loved the film, I vowed never to be those guys. And to this day, I’m horrible at remembering dialogue. All I’m saying, in this ramblin’, is that we’re a far ways from that sort o saturation. I look forward to the film that can have that impact. But with a nation divided, I think it will take a new president (seriously) for that sort of art to emerge.

Next week Pirates should hold the top slot (even with a 70% hit, that’s some might-e fine coin), but the question is: Can Seth Rogen open a movie? Will audience respond to something that everyone worth their salt knows will be god damned entertaining? Stay Tuned.