A swashbuckling film franchise based on a theme park ride has spawned four films with a fifth one on the way reinvigorates the pirate film genre and it comes in at number 10 on my movie franchise countdown.
Pirate movies had not been seen or successful sense the golden age of Hollywood. In late 2001 Disney hired a writer to pen the script based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. When the script was complete Jerry Bruckheimer rejected it because it felt too much like a “straight pirate movie”.
Screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio who had written a script for a pirate movie with a supernatural twist in the early 1990’s, but never picked up, were brought in to help with the rewrite. Both Elliott and Rossio were inspired by the opening narration of the ride and gave the film a supernatural edge.
When the budget for “The Curse of the Black Pearl” began to rise Disney executives Michael Eisner and Robert Iger were threatening to kill the movie, but Bruckheimer was able to change their minds after showing them both animatics and concept art for the film.
Gore Verbinski signed on to direct in June of 2002 because the thought of using modern technology to do a pirate film intrigued him. Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush both signed on in July. Filming for “The Curse of the Black Pearl” began in October of 2002 and finished in March of 2003.
When the film was released to theaters in July of 2003 most studio executives were sure the film would walk the plank and flop. That would not be the case however as “The Curse of the Black Pearl” would go on to gross over $654 million dollars worldwide and receive positive reviews from the critics.
When “The Curse of the Black Pearl” was a success, Disney decided to turn the pirate movie into a trilogy. “Dead Man’s Chest” was released in 2006 and “At World’s End” in 2007. “Dead Man’s Chest” would earn $1.1 billion worldwide and ended up being the number one film for 2006.
Three films as it turned out wouldn’t be enough for Disney. “On Stranger Tides” would be released in May of 2011 and the fourth film in the franchise. Elliott and Rossio who wrote the first three films would write “On Stranger Tides” and wrote it as a stand-alone film.
“On Stranger Tides” would go on to gross over $1 billion worldwide at the box office, but did so after becoming the most expensive movie ever made with a cost of $378 million dollars. Gore Verbinski was unable to direct and Rob Marshall was given the reins.
If four wasn’t enough, how about five? In 2011, Disney confirmed that a fifth film would be on its way. Originally Disney was wanting to release the movie in 2015, but was pushed back for a 2017 release. “Dead Men Tell No Tales” will see Johnny Depp return for a fifth time as Captain Jack Sparrow. Javier Bardem who’s playing “Captain Salazar” will serve as Depp’s antagonist.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise as a whole has shown to be successful, but at some point you have to wonder when enough is enough.
The first three films in the franchise work well together as a trilogy and if you look at “On Stranger Tides” as a stand-alone film then I guess it’s okay for what it is, but lets face it “On Stranger Tides” wasn’t as good in my mind as the first three.
I understand the franchise has made Disney a lot of money with the first four films and I like Javier Bardem in the role of the bad guy for the fifth, but when do you say stop?
At some point Disney will have to make the decision to not make any more “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, it would be better for Disney to decide that themselves instead of letting the public make it for them.
At this time the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has grossed $3.73 billion worldwide and is the ninth highest-grossing film franchise of all-time. With the movie franchise’s that are still yet to come in my movie franchise countdown the Pirates franchise just slips in at number ten.
Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate Captain Jack Sparrow to save Turner’s love, Elizabeth Swann, from undead pirates led by Jack’s former mutinous first mate, Captain Barbossa. Jack wants revenge against Barbossa, who left him stranded on an island before stealing his ship, the Black Pearl, along with 882 pieces of cursed Aztec Gold.
Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company arrests Will and Elizabeth for aiding Captain Jack Sparrow in the previous film. Beckett offers clemency if Will agrees to search for Jack’s compass in a bid to find the Dead Man’s Chest – and inside, the heart of villainous Davy Jones – which would give Beckett control of the seas. However, Jack wants the Chest to escape from an unpaid debt with Jones, who raised the Black Pearl from the seabed (after it was sunk by Beckett) and made Jack captain for 13 years in exchange for 100 years of service aboard Jones’ ship.
Lord Beckett gains power over Davy Jones, and with the help of Jones’ ship, the Flying Dutchman, he is now executing his plans to extinguish piracy forever. To stand against the East India Trading Co., Will, Elizabeth, Barbossa, and the crew of the Black Pearl set out to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones’ Locker. As one of the Nine Pirate Lords, Jack is needed in order to summon an ancient goddess with the power to defeat Beckett’s forces.
Captain Jack Sparrow is on a quest to find the fabled Fountain of Youth and crosses paths with a former lover, Angelica. She forces Jack aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, a ship captained by the infamous pirate Blackbeard, Angelica’s father. Both are also in search of the Fountain; Angelica to save her father’s soul, Blackbeard to escape a prophecy of his demise at the hands of a one-legged man. Joining the hunt is former pirate captain Barbossa, now a privateer in King George II’s Navy, who is in a race against the Spanish for the Fountain.
Down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea, including him. Captain Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.
Categories: Movie Franchise Countdown