Pirates 3 plunders the US box office

This weekend was one of those rare times of the year when a US holiday coincides with our own. And it’s no surprise that the American Memorial Day weekend has become prime real estate for opening big films. Studios figure that cinemagoers have plenty of time to catch their latest product, a strategy which helped X3: The Last Stand to success last year.

And this year’s Kraken-sized release was the much-heralded (but critically slammed) Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End. The closing act of the trilogy featuring Jack Sparrow and the band of pirates fighting for their freedom opened predictably big (not tough when you’re on the largest amount of screens around the world) and had the Disney PR bods ditching family time to shout from the rooftops about how much cash their new milking device had suckled from audience cows around the world. And that metaphor was entirely less disturbing in our brain…

But while Pirates was setting international earning records ($401 million in six days across the globe), it couldn’t quite best Spider-Man 3’s big day in the States, requiring crafty executives to sneak in its Thursday screening totals and the four-day weekend to push Sparrow and company ahead. But as of Monday night, the estimate was set at $156 million in the US.

Shrek The Third continued to perform well, nabbing $69 million in its second week for a current total of $219 million. And while Spider-Man 3 is seeing its ticket sales slowly decline, the web-slinger was still a big draw this weekend, snatching third place and adding $18 million for a running total of $307.6 million.

You have to travel down to fourth place to find this week’s second new entry: William Friedkin’s welcome return to psychological terror, Bug, drew $4.2 million by sending insects under Ashley Judd’s skin. And in fifth position lies this year’s indie film that can – Waitress, which has been in the charts for four weeks, but opened wider and cracked the top 10, making $4 million this weekend.

28 Weeks Later is busy scaring people in sixth place, having made $3.3 million over the weekend and $24.4 million to date. In seventh, Disturbia continues to perform, though it is now sliding down the charts. It took in $2.4 million across Memorial Day, for a current gross of nearly $75 million.

And so to the bottom of the charts, where Georgia Rule wallows in eighth place, making $2.3 million and boosting its total to $16.8 million, Fracture is at ninth with $37.1 million in the bank so far, and, in 10th place, scoring some last minute family business, the hated-but-successful Wild Hogs, which snuck back into the charts with a $1.4 million weekend. The John Travolta biking comedy has made $163.2 million so far.

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