The Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise has made billions of dollars and earned its star, Johnny Depp, an Oscar nomination. But all that seems to be changing as Disney looks to give the series ‘a kick in the pants’. The studio is in the process of rebooting the series, crucially without the involvement of its star, Depp, who has played Jack Sparrow in five films. And according to a new Forbes report, this will save the Mouse House $90 million per film.
Depp’s salary, including a healthy profit percentage, reaches close to $100 million per Pirates film – that’s almost Rs 700 crore – but with the last entry posting unremarkable box office numbers, and with Depp’s growing personal issues, Disney is distancing itself from the once-powerful star.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the series’ fifth film, registered a box office haul of almost $800 million, well below the over $1 billion totals of the franchise’s second and fourth films, and the $963 million haul of the third one.
Produced at a budget of close to $250 million, Dead Men Tell No Tales arrived in the middle of a period of personal trouble for Depp, who has been involved in a well-publicised split from wife Amber Heard – who alleges that he was physically abusive – and a lawsuit with his former managers over mismanagement of his wealth. The managers had alleged that Depp has ‘compulsive spending disorder’ and had squandered millions of dollars over the years, almost rendering him broke.
Depp’s last few films – Mortdecai, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Transcendence, The Lone Ranger – have been box office disappointments. His upcoming film, City of Angels, was shelved at the last minute due to disputes, and his appearance as the title character in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, was widely protested.
Disney’s film production chief Sean Bailey recently confirmed that the studio was looking to reboot the series, with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick working on a new story. It has also been rumoured that the new films will be lead by a woman.