What the heck the billion-dollar Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will look like moving forward, minus America’s and the world’s the billion-dollar man himself, Johnny Depp.
Since the hard-to-imagine is here: nobody is thinking about bringing on Johnny for the subsequent one, at his reported $90-million per.
Least of all Disney, who have only brought on the Deadpool authors Rhett Reeseand, Paul Wernick to pen the script for its sixth installation and, as described by Disney CEO Sean Bailey, to give the 14-year-old franchise”a kick in the pants.”
We might reasonably wonder, who’s gonna wear the most of the rings and also smashed up dangly hair and bracelets and that rigid leather bucket of a hat? Who’s going to ignore all manner of deadly peril and still crack wise? Who’s gonna give us Keith, but somehow funnier and better than Keith? How is it paired, that insouciant, dancerly step from the mast of the sinking ship to the pier in the opener lo these many years ago? Who’s going to attract all that lovable, railing, vainglorious, almost-ironic shtick?
Or, because the item is just now being written, much less trailered, nobody’s been thought of to do this however.
With the last release back in’15, we can examine the timeline and the bottom line to get a few clues about how this line of producer-think came about.
As we all know, Dead Men Tell No Tales is your complete runt of the five-film Pirates litter, coming in as late as it did, plagued and pulling that a franchise-low $172-million national gross within a budget of $230-million.
Not to worry, the film did not get rid of money, pulling a hearty $788-million worldwide.
The problem of getting there: The screenwriter for Dead Men was Jeff Nathanson, who delivered a soldierly, if extravagantly cobbled-together product while being saddled with – you guessed it Johnny himself as a composing partner or really heavily-involved reader, take your pick.
There are no bylines on the individual chunks of the Dead Guys script, but when a producer is paying an enormously talented performer from the many heaps of millions, say ninety millions, and said celebrity has been in the role for a dozen years, we can estimate the scenes involving his character would be some of their highly worked, or even overthought, set pieces ever to see the silver screen.
If they were not then only filmed at great cost and then cut.
Dead Men were narratively more youthful and more extenuated than, say, the ebullient Black Pearl launching episode, which had so many bright, fun things to say about the folly of colonialism and everything else back in 2003.
Which is not to suggest in any way or form which Mr. Depp is shedding his talent, or his signature, or will be entering his twilight years as a star.
Instead, it’s to say that breathing life into a large, multi-billion-dollar franchise five times in a row is an enormously difficult thing to do for all concerned, the writers, the actors, the crew and their producers.
Dead Guys dropped months of momentum as the script drifted in limbo.
One sure way to not have that happen again is to bring in certain charmingly nihilistic, very clever writers to write this character, the one that was moonlighting as a screenwriter, out of the movie.