It’s been something of a song and dance to get the sixth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise going, largely because of waning box office figures and increasing apathy for the whole shebang.
Back in May of last year, our review of Dead Men Tell No Tales speculated an unlikely future for the swashbuckling adventure series (which makes it sound like a D.W. Griffith serial from the 1920s, and you’d not be wrong – it seems dated, tired and overly drawn-out).
Following this we had the news that producer-mogul Jerry Bruckheimer had absolutely put his foot down and denied that there was any future for Pirates without Johnny Depp – and the consensus seemed to be that nobody else could fit the role. Then, back in October, it was rumored that Depp might not return. You can make your own mind up as to why.
Well, after all the hearsay over the last few months, it’s now finally been confirmed by Disney Chief of Film Production Sean Bailey that Johnny Depp will no longer be taking up his character in the reboot. In a statement mentioning the film’s screenwriting duo, he commented:
“We want to bring in a new energy and vitality. I love the movies, but part of the reason Paul [Wernick] and Rhett [Reese] are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants. And that’s what I’ve tasked them with.”
It sounds to me like Disney has had enough, and perhaps it should listen to the numbers. The franchise, which has raked in almost $1.5 billion at the global box office in the fifteen years since Curse of the Black Pearl was first released, has performed well in terms of DVD sales, but the disappointing $62m opening and $172m gross (to date) of the latest movie shows that people just aren’t as invested as they were in the Pirates movies, as hard as they have tried to become event cinema.
Admittedly, you might argue that since a reboot isn’t a faithful imitation of the original, but rather a ‘reimagining’ (remind me never to use that word again) of the source material, anybody could play the new Jack Sparrow. And you’d be right, of course. But the point is that it’s never going to be the same and you can’t relive the glory days. A reboot might work for the parents who want to take their kids to the theater on a Saturday morning when there’s nothing better on, but for the rest of us, it seems like a needless move.
While it’s yet unclear when we might expect the latest addition to hit theaters, it seems some years away based on the fact that the production has been in a state of flux for so long. I’m also somewhat confounded because Disney has in the works about a hundred reboots currently on which to bank their money – everything from Lion King to Aladdin – and personally, I’d much rather spend my time watching hot Jafar than someone else parading around pretending to be Jack Sparrow.
Johnny Depp Confirmed Not to Return as Jack Sparrow in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Reboot [GeekTyrant]