The pirates' booty keeps piling up at a record pace.
Keelhauling all comers for a third straight weekend, The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest looted another $35.2 million to bring its 17-day total to $321.9 million, per final studio tallies released Monday.
The Disney theme park ride-inspired sequel has now sailed past the $305.4 million gross of the original Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and, when it passed $300 million on Saturday after 16 days of release, Dead Man's Chest overcame last year's Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith as the fastest film to reach that milestone.
Dead Man's Chest was also the first summer release to threepeat since American Pie 2 in 2001. The scalawag sequel averaged $8,520 at 4,133 sites--best among films in wide release. It also has surpassed the $200 million mark overseas, according to trade reports.
The buccaneers finished several leagues ahead of the new horror flicks Monster House and Lady in the Water, and oceans apart from the comedies Clerks II and My Super Ex-Girlfriend.
Monster House, easily the most successful of the new wide releases, opened stronger than anticipated in second place with $22.2 million, according to Sony, which was happy to announce the PG-rated 'toon was the studio's eighth release this year to debut over $20 million.
The story about a trio of kids and the haunted house that tries to eat them opened at 3,553 locations for a $6,253 average; but $2.6 million of the total haul came from 163 large-screen theaters, where the film was shown in 3-D--good enough for a $16,012 per-screen average. The spooky story was aimed at children and lured 'em in. Sony said the audience skewed young, slightly more boys than girls, with more moms than dads accompanying the tykes.
Lady in the Water, M. Night Shyamalan's spooky tale about a water fairy (Bryce Dallas Howard) rescued by a hotel handyman (Paul Giamatti), surfaced in third place with a soggy $18 million, averaging $5,578 at 3,235 sites. The PG-13 film, the director's first Warners release and possibly worst reviewed of his career, was way below the openings of his last four movies, all for Disney: The Village ($50.7 million), Signs ($60.1 million), Unbreakable ($30.3 million) and The Sixth Sense ($26.6 million), the most successful of all his films, which has grossed $293.5 million since its 1999 debut.
You, Me and Dupree and Little Man held reasonably well in their second weeks--with $12.8 million and $11 million, respectively in fourth and fifth place--making the weekend's two new comedic entries also-rans.
Kevin Smith's Clerks II checked in with $10.1 million in sixth place. The R-rated MGM release, which cost a bargain-bin $5 million to produce, was unleashed at far more theaters than the filmmaker's 1994 original cult hit slacker opus, unspooling in 2,150 locations, where it averaged $4,680.
That was boffo business compared to the $3,1840 average at 2,702 locations for My Super Ex-Girlfriend. Fox's PG-13 romantic comedy, in which Uma Thurman uses her powers to punish Luke Wilson, had a less than super debut, finishing down in seventh place with $8.6 million.
Fox had some better news when it came to The Devil Wears Prada. The fashion-skewering comedy sewed up another $7.4 million in ninth place to bring its four-week tally to $97.5 million, and the studio expects the film to pass the coveted $100 mark by Thursday.
Although the $142.7 million grossed by the top 12 movies was down 10 percent from last weekend, it was up 10 percent from this time last year when another Johnny Depp-powered film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was leading the way.
Here's a rundown of the top-grossing weekend movies, based on official studio figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations:
1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, $35.2 million
2. Monster House, $22.2 million
3. Lady in the Water, $18.2 million
4. You, Me and Dupree, $12.8 million
5. Little Man, $11 million
6. Clerks II, $10.1 million
7. My Super Ex-Girlfriend, $8.6 million
8. Superman Returns, $7.38 million
9. The Devil Wears Prada, $7.36 million
10. Cars, $4.9 million
(Originally published July 23, 2006 at 2:55 p.m. PT.)