Disney’s ‘Pirates’ Nears $650 Million Mark Worldwide

Peter Mountain/Disney

“On Stranger Tides” earns the same amount in 12 days as the franchise’s 2007 installment, “At World’s End.”

Disney and Bruckheimer Films' Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides crossed the $600 million mark at the worldwide box office on Sunday, matching the industry record for speed set by the last Pirates film.

Both On Stranger Tides and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End reached $600 million in only 12 days.

On Stranger Tides is expected to finish the Memorial Day weekend with a global cume of $649.1 million, and continues to be a massive player overseas, where it set an international record in crossing the $300 million plateau only in six days. The film’s foreign cume through Monday is an estimated $485.1 million—nearly three times its domestic total of $164 million.

Much of that has to do with the booming appetite for 3D titles in markets led by Russia, China, India and Brazil (the BRIC countries). On Stranger Tides is already the top grossing Disney title of all time in Russia and China, earning $49.8 million and $44.2 million, respectively.

Conversely, there’s been a sudden dip in 3D attendance in the U.S., where moviegoers might be reacting to the extra charge for seeing a film in 3D. During Pirate’s opening weekend, only 46% of the gross came from 3D screens (of which 9% came from Imax screens). The indusry standard has been 55% to 65%.

And over Memorial Day weekend, only 47% of Kung Fu Panda 2’s opening gross came from 3D screens (Panda didn’t  play in Imax locations domestically). Kung Fu Panda opened to a massive $16 million in China, scoring the biggest opening day of all time for a foreign film. Opening weekend tally incuded $720,000 from 22 Imax theaters.

Pirates is easily the top worldwide total of 2011, followed to date by Universal’s Fast Five ($543.6 million), 20th Century Fox’s Rio ($457.3 million), Paramount and Marvel Studios’ Thor ($415.5 million) and Paramount’s Rango ($241.2 million).