“Pirates 3” fails to set new opening box office mark

 LOS ANGELES, May 27 (Xinhua) — The latest film of Walt Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise failed to set new opening box office record in North America this weekend, largely due to the lingering popularity of superhero Spider-Man and a computer-generated green ogre named Shrek among moviegoers.

    But “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” still sold an estimated 126.5 million dollars worth of tickets in the United States and Canada during the three-day period, well on its way to setting a new domestic Memorial Day weekend box office record, distributer Walt Disney Pictures said Sunday.

    The Disney film is the third blockbuster in three weeks in North American theaters to break major movie sales records, and industry observers note that the red hot summer season has only started. Several major pictures are slated for release in the next few weeks.

    “At World’s End” is also poised to have the biggest worldwide opening of all time, expected to gross an estimated 205.5 million dollars through Sunday, according to Disney. If including ticket sales for Monday, the company anticipates, the film would beat the industry record of 381.7 million dollars, currently held by “Spider-Man 3.”

    “We’re thrilled to report that the film is on track to have the biggest worldwide opening in movie history,” said Mark Zoradi, a Walt Disney Studios president. “From every corner of the world, the film is playing like gangbusters, and we think that this enthusiasm and good will is going to continue for a long time to come.”

    “Shrek the Third” came in second this weekend with an estimated51 million dollars for a cumulative two-week take of 215.7 million dollars, according to Los Angeles-based box office tracker Media by Numbers Sunday.

    “Spider-Man 3” brought in 13.7 million dollars to take third over the weekend. The superhero action film has so far made a whopping 303.3 million dollars at the box office since its record-breaking debut three weeks ago.

    The thriller “Bug,” starring Ashley Judd as a lonely waitress who pairs up with a paranoid Gulf War veteran who sees bugs in a spooky motel room, came in fourth with 3.3 million dollars, while the comedy “Waitress” came in fifth with 3.1 million dollars.

    The dozen top-grossing films earned a combined 193.3 million dollars over the weekend, up 2.6 percent from the same period last year.

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