FROM MTV MOVIES: To truly understand the global success of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise — because who, honestly, can wrap his head around a figure as large as $2.7 billion, the series' worldwide box-office haul? — one might do well to pay attention to the slightly smaller figure of Johnny Depp's paycheck for playing Captain Jack Sparrow.
"It must be kind of nice for him to know that he can revisit this every two or three years and be paid more than the national debt of most countries," new co-star Ian McShane joked to the Los Angeles Times during an interview in Cannes last week.
OK, so McShane is exaggerating just a tad, but the point is that over the course of three films (even though the last two had decidedly mixed reviews), the "Pirates" films have managed to stay remarkably popular — especially considering they're based on a hokey, '60s-era amusement-park attraction. The newest installment, "On Stranger Tides," shows little sign of a dent in that "Pirates" popularity, despite once again facing a mixed critical assessment. Its two-day international gross stands at almost $44 million, and domestically, it's expected to reel in around $100 million over opening weekend.