BREAKING NEWS–PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST earns $55.5 million and smashes U.S. opening-day box-office record!

Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow brought home a chest full of box-office gold on Friday: the $55.5 million opening day of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST shattered the all-time U.S. box office record. Yes, DEAD MAN’S CHEST easily topped the previous record-holder, STAR WARS EPISODE III–REVENGE OF THE SITH ($50.0 million) and earned $10 million more on its opening day than the third-place film, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND ($45.1 million). For those who have been following the media-hyped “battle” between DEAD MAN’S CHEST and SUPERMAN RETURNS, the honors go to the pirate: DEAD MAN’S CHEST earned as much on its opening day as SUPERMAN RETURNS earned on its opening weekend.

What is Disney’s reaction to its pirate treasure? “We’re obviously thrilled beyond belief,” said Chuck Viane, head of distribution at Disney. “Anytime you break an industry record . . . the word ecstatic comes to mind.” And speaking for the movie industry, Paul Dergarbedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations, told the Associated Press, “This goes a long way of dispelling the notion that people don’t want to go to movies anymore. People aren’t waiting for the DVD on this one. They are going out to see it.”

Congratulations to the cast and crew of DEAD MAN’S CHEST for giving us all a reason to go to the movies! The Zone thanks sleepy and Holden for constant box-office updates–you can follow DMC’s progress on the News & Views forum.