Amid a myriad of slot machines at Caesars Palace, Disney’s showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” on Tuesday left exhibitors in an upbeat mood for representing close to a sure thing.
“That’s the movie people have been waiting for,” said one. “I loved the special effects and the story felt fresh.”
Disney’s presentation of the screening came at the end of the second day of CinemaCon, and started 30 minutes late as Paramount’s earlier presentation ran longer than scheduled. Disney’s distribution chief Dave Hollis first gave a short recap of the studio’s record year of $7.6 billion worldwide, noted that “Beauty and the Beast” had eclipsed $700 million and offered a relatively brief update of the upcoming slate.
No stars took the stage and Hollis did not engage in the typical CinemaCon hyperbole, though he did point out mater-of-factly that the four previous “Pirates of Caribbean” had grossed more than $3.7 billion combined. The swashbuckler series launched in 2003 with “The Curse of the Black Pearl.”
“Dead Man Tell No Tales” stars Johnny Depp as the wisecracking Captain Jack Sparrow, Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa and Javier Bardem as Captain Salazar. Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario play the new characters, while Orlando Bloom will return as Will Turner. Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg directed.
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Several exhibitors said they were particularly impressed by the depiction of the undead pirate hunters led by Bardem and Depp’s offbeat portrayal, noting that he again was channeling Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones.
The film — the first since 2011’s “On Stranger Tides” — will be released May 26.