Johnny Depp’s ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean 5’: Theaters Too Posh? Domestic Box Office Sales Suffering [Opinion]

Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales did very well in theaters worldwide. With a total box office gross of $777 million, but domestically the latest Depp film was a disappointment, only grossing $171 million from American theater box offices, according to Forbes.

Is Johnny Depp losing popularity in the United States? Are Americans tired of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise?

Perhaps Johnny Depp’s bad press is impacting Pirates of the Caribbean? At first glance, one might think that is the case, but the issue is far more complex. Reports of theater ticket sales make it seem that people are disgruntled with the quality of Pirates of the Caribbean, or even Johnny Depp himself, but this isn’t about Johnny.

Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp isn’t the only movie to disappoint producers at the box office. Fewer Americans are going to the theaters. Is the $8 ticket price a bit too steep? Perhaps. Still, Beijing’s movie theaters were reportedly crowded. The Chinese came in droves to see Johnny Depp portray Jack Sparrow, even at the equivalent of $23 per ticket in Beijing, according to Expatistan.

Theaters in China vary quite a bit in ticket prices and some paid as little as $5.75 to see Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp. Still, that’s not terribly different than $8. Is America seeing some sort of cultural shift away from movie theaters?

Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean, when compared to other movies this year, really didn’t do so badly, even domestically. Forbes points out that the Pirates of the Caribbean 5 film holds a rather odd statistical record. Pirates of the Caribbean 5 with Johnny Depp is the biggest grossing film ever, for a film that didn’t top $200 million in American theaters.

It’s not just Johnny Depp’s films though. Movie theater attendance in the U.S. is gradually declining across the board, according to Business Insider and has been dropping at least for the past 10 years. Therefore, it is normal for a franchise like Pirates of the Caribbean not to do as well as it did 10 years ago domestically. So what’s wrong with American theaters?

Long before Johnny Depp ever graced the silver screen in Pirates of the Caribbean, movie theaters were a favorite form of entertainment for kids. Those now in their 80s can perhaps remember their father giving them a dime to spend at the theaters, even during the depression.

People Johnny Depp’s age can recall $1 and $2 movies. These were theaters who showed films soon after they were shown in the regular theaters. Dollar movie theaters are far less common today, but in the 1980s, they catered to families, kids, and teens.

Today’s theaters are far different than in those days of munching popcorn in crummy mousetrap seats. In order to contend with a growing loss of interest in movie attendance, many theaters are going super deluxe.

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow close up
Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow close up [Image by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Image]

Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and other recent films are not seen by as many Americans in 2017. Theaters had to come up with new ideas to make money, namely concessions. AMC decided they didn’t need as many seats, but nicer seats instead, according to CBS News. Now many theaters offer plush recliners, tables, and a very elaborate menu of entrees. Some theaters even have full-service bars. It’s the fastest growing and most profitable trend in theaters.

While American box office sales have decreased, these theater’s profits are up, due to fancy concession sales. The whole plan seems aimed at the privileged few adults who have disposable income.

The lower middle-class families with children will probably wait for Pirates of the Caribbean to come out on Netflix, or other low-cost streaming services if the kids get to watch Johnny Depp at all. Is this really a good trend for the movie industry? While adult centric theaters might rake in the profits, what about the case for future customers? Will kids who don’t grow up going to theaters care about seeing movies in theaters as adults?

Johnny Depp look alikes in Japan
Johnny Depp look alikes in Japan [Image by Shizuo Kambayashi/AP Images]


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Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean did well in China, Japan, and so many other nations, but here in America, are movie theaters becoming too exclusive and less family friendly?

[Featured Image by Jesse Grant/Getty Images]