Joel Cohen, vp business development for, has told Reuters that “we are really off the charts” in comparing Pirates 2 box-office prospects to what the first Pirates made. The story says that “advance ticket sales are already more than 20 times higher” than that of the original. Exhibitor Relations guy Paul Dergarabedian, whose observations have caused my eyelids to droop more than any other spoksperson in any other field, says that “the buzz around the campfire in Hollywood is, ‘Could this be the film to post the biggest opening weekend of all time?” (The phrase is “word around the campfire ,” not “buzz”). The Big Kahuna record holder is Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man, which opened with $114.8 million in ’02. Of course, the Reuters story ignores all considerations about what this sight-unseen enthusiasm for Pirates 2 means in terms of our fast-food culture and the aesthetic sophistication levels that seem to exist among the young. Money, popcorn, abundance…what else matters?