Arrrrr…have you ever been to sea, Billy?

‘Pirates’ Set to Make Movie Rivals Walk the Plank
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Sean Connery’s league of famous misfits from the Victorian Age is likely to have a difficult time if they expect to snatch away some of the booty already being reaped by Johnny Depp and his gang of pirates.
Swords will be drawn on both sides as Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” faces off against 20th Century Fox’s “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” this weekend, fighting over moviegoers flocking to the theaters for one of the two action-adventurers hitting the big screen.
“Pirates” opened Wednesday to $13.5 million, getting a head start on the coveted PG-13 audience. It was the best Wednesday opening of the year — surpassing the R-rated “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” which earned $12.4 million last week — and the eighth-best Wednesday opening ever.
Inspired by the fabled Disneyland ride, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced “Pirates” pairs Depp with Orlando Bloom as 17th century adventurers Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner, respectively. They are out to fight Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who has kidnapped the governor’s beautiful daughter Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) and taken over Sparrow’s ship.
The film, directed by Gore Verbinski, is playing in 3,269 theaters and is predicted to reach the $45 million-50 million mark for the Friday-Sunday period. Its Wednesday and Thursday take could boost the picture’s five-day total to $65 million-$70 million.
The fate of Fox’s “Gentlemen” is more open to question. Connery stars as Allan Quatermain, who heads a disparate band of unlikely 19th century superheroes brought together to fight a dangerous foe who could trigger a world war. Based on the unique comic book series created by Alan Moore, the film is sure to benefit from a last-minute media blitz, but industry tracking suggests that it won’t come close to “Pirates.”
“Gentlemen” looks more likely to earn $17 million-$20 million for the three-day period. Directed by Stephen Norrington of “Blade” fame, the PG-13 film will bow in 3,002 theaters.
Not only does “Gentlemen” have to fight the younger fan base looking forward to seeing Depp and Bloom in eyeliner and long hair, it also goes up against the second weekend of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “T3.” The sophomore session of the franchise’s third installment could suffer a 50% drop from its $44 million debut weekend, putting it squarely in the same box office range as “Gentlemen.”
On the limited-release front, Paramount Classics opens “Northfolk,” the epic film from the Polish brothers (“Twin Falls, Idaho”), in four theaters. The PG-13 drama, a festival favorite, stars James Woods, Nick Nolte, Daryl Hannah and Anthony Edwards in a surreal tale about a town threatened by a new dam project. The film already has received rave reviews, with some critics calling it the brothers’ best film yet.
Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the Russian film “The Cuckoo” in New York and Los Angeles. The PG-13 film centers on a Russian idealist, a Finnish college student and a Swedish peasant woman who are confined to a tiny backwoods hut near the end of World War II.
IDP will debut “I Capture the Castle” on eight screens in New York and Los Angeles. The R-rated U.K. import is a Jane Austen-style romance about a young fledgling writer who is being married off, much to her chagrin, by her family in search of a better lifestyle.