By Seth Kelley
LOS ANGELES, May 29 (Variety.com) - This Memorial Day weekend signals a sluggish end to a dreary summer box office start. This four-day weekend's total domestic earnings ($172.3 million) are the lowest recorded since 1999 ($142.5 million) when "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace" opened in first place.
The lone bright spot of this summer so far is Disney and Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" which is holding onto second place over the holiday weekend, earning an additional $25 million from 3,871 locations. Its total domestic cume stands at over $338 million, and worldwide it's made over $788 million, passing the original "Guardians" movie ($773 million worldwide).
Disney also took the top slot this weekend with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," the fifth installation in the franchise starring Johnny Depp. The swashbuckling adventure picked up $77 million over the four-day weekend from 4,276 locations. However, most of the film's sales are coming from overseas markets — the title will easily pass $300 million worldwide by the weekend's end.
Paramount's "Baywatch," however, is another story. The splashy summer comedy starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, which carries a production budget well above $60 million, got only a sprinkling of audiences to buy tickets. By the end of the weekend it will have earned $23 million domestically from 3,647, far below earlier expectations.
Fox's "Alien: Covenant," which opened to a disappointing $36 million last weekend, is sliding to fourth place with $13.15 million from 3,772 locations. Rounding out the top five, the YA adaptation "Everything, Everything" looks to have been a wise, albeit low budget, investment. The movie is in fifth place during its second weekend, and is adding $7.4 million to its total from 2,801 theaters.
"It's crunch time for the industry after a lackluster May and a dismal Memorial weekend," said Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at ComScore. "The good news is that June looks to deliver the goods and no movie is better suited to lead the cavalry charge than 'Wonder Woman' later this week. The pressure is certainly on for the final three quarters of the season to get us out of this downturn."
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