Ian McShane

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Set To Dominate The Box Office

In a weekend with just one wide release, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is in clear position to put up not only a chart-topping weekend but the top opening of the year so far. Following strong early numbers, “Thor” and “Fast Five” should both see substantial drops in revenue due to strong competition from “Pirates,” while R-rated comedy “Bridesmaids” is set up for a very nice second weekend in theaters.

When “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” first hit theaters in 2003, Johnny Depp was a popular actor but nowhere near the top box office draw in the entire world. With the strong success of the first entry, however, Depp was catapulted to the very top of the A-list and an enormous franchise was born. Though “Black Pearl” was a big hit, sequels “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End” were considerably bigger; “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End” averaged more than $1 billion in worldwide revenue, making the “Pirates” series one of the premier franchises in Hollywood.

Even if director Gore Verbinski, who helmed the first three, dropped out of “On Stranger Tides” to focus on other projects, Disney found a nice replacement in veteran Rob Marshall to take over the series. Though Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom both dropped out of the series as well, it’s unlikely that will slow down the series in any way, with Depp still remaining as the top draw.

Disney also made some interesting additions to the cast, including Penelope Cruz and British actor Ian McShane. McShane is mostly known from HBO’s critically lauded historical series “Deadwood” and he seems to be a great fit as Blackbeard, one of the most infamous pirates of all time. Adding in a quest for the Fountain of Youth, “On Stranger Tides” looks to have plenty of fantastical action and top-tier special effects to satisfy mainstream audiences, which should lead to an enormous weekend.