Ahoy, mateys! Disney is still putting together their Pirates of the Caribbean reboot, and while we know very little about the project itself, we do know that Johnny Depp is getting the old heave-ho. Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow is not expected to return, and his departure is going to save the House of Mouse enough loot to fill up several treasure chests. While Depp fans may be disappointed about this, Disney is likely happy to set sail without him, and save some of their precious booty in the process.
For the longest time, Johnny Depp was considered a major selling-point for the Pirates of the Caribbean films. The thought of making one without him seemed almost crazy. Things have changed, however. Depp has had some negative press surrounding him in recent years, and now Disney feels pretty confident to move forward without him. And there’s a very good reason for that: money. According to Forbes, making a new Pirates movie without Johnny Depp is going to knock at least $90 million off the budget.
That’s how much Depp apparently gets for these movies, and that’s not chump change, even for Disney. On top of that, Forbes makes it pretty clear that the the quality of the Pirates sequels have diminished severely because screenwriters were forced to focus more on Depp’s Jack Sparrow rather than a good story. After all, if the studio is paying that much money for Depp, they want to make it count.
Think back to the first, and still best, Pirates film: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. While Depp unquestionably delivered a fun, memorable performance there, he wasn’t the main focus. In fact, he was more of a supporting player, the Han Solo to Orlando Bloom’s Luke Skywalker-like character Will Turner. But Depp made such a splash that the sequels began shifting more and more focus on him. As a result, the most recent – and worst – entry in the series, 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, actually allowed Depp to make heavy changes to the script Jeff Nathanson, which produced a hodge-podge of a film that not even the hardcore Pirates fans enjoyed. None of this is really Depp’s fault, of course. If someone offered you $90 million to do a passable Keith Richards performance, you’d say yes, too. But Dead Men Tell No Tales did not perform as well at the box office as Disney had hoped.
With all this in mind, going Depp-less for the Pirates reboot makes sense, from a financial standpoint. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writing team behind Deadpool, are handling the reboot script. When it comes to what we can expect from the new adventure, Sean Bailey, President of Production at Walt Disney Studios, said:
“We want to bring in a new energy and vitality. I love the [Pirates] movies, but part of the reason Paul and Rhett are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants. And that’s what I’ve tasked them with.”
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