Int’l B.O. propels ‘Pirates’

Pic nabs more than $1 billion worldwide

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” ran the risk of serious franchise fatigue as the fourth installment in Disney’s most successful franchise, but it overcame that perception, quickly approaching the group’s highest gross with just more than $1 billion worldwide.

That total makes it the seventh-best pic of all time, closing in on “Alice in Wonderland” at $1.024 billion.

Majority of the worldwide total comes from overseas plexes, totaling $774 million vs. the pic’s domestic cume at $233.7 million.

“On Stranger Tides” still trails the franchise’s second offering, “Dead Man’s Chest,” which ended with $1.065 billion globally in 2006. The sequel earned more than “On Stranger Tides” domestically, with $423.3 million as the franchise’s best Stateside player.

With unenthusiastic word-of-mouth for its predecessor, “At World’s End,” “On Stranger Tides'” performance looks even more impressive.

The film went up against several multibillion-dollar franchises, including Fox’s “X-Men: First Class” and this weekend’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” from Paramount. Even Warner Bros.’ R-rated comedy sequel “The Hangover Part II” has impressed international auds with a boffo $300 million.

“First Class” has turned in almost $200 million without having been released as wide as pics like “Dark of the Moon” or “On Stranger Tides.”

Disney’s “Pirates” pic currently ranks as the franchise’s best in 59 territories, including 3D strongholds like China and Russia, where in fact, “On Stranger Tides” is the Mouse’s highest-grossing film ever.

The format hasn’t helped “On Stranger Tides” domestically as much (pic opened with just 46% from 3D), but overseas moviegoers have embraced the fourth “Pirates” pic as the franchise’s first 3D offering. Approximately 67% of international B.O. for “On Stranger Tides” has come from 3D, while in Europe, the pic’s 3D share stands at 70%.

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