Back in 2003, Jerry Bruckheimer did something fairly improbable - he took a theme pack ride, repurposed it as a movie, gave it a blockbuster budget and slapped a fellow called Johnny Depp into the middle of it. And pretty much made history.
Pirates of the Caribbean was a triumph - a weird studio film and a pirate show which actually worked - and it really brought in the dollars, with the franchise so far earning almost 4 billion dollars worldwide. It also introduced us to the moden version of Johnny Depp who was once a serious actor and now puts on silly hats and even sillier accents in an effort to entertain. But let's remember where it all began...
Actually, that's a pretty shoddy trailer but without a doubt The Curse of the Black Pearl was a lot of fun. And now, there's a fourth sequel on the way. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has just started production in Australia after many years of rewrites and delays, mostly due to the fact that The Lone Ranger almost turned Disney off Depp. With the film before cameras, we've got the first plot synopsis. Which goes like this:
""Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luckCaptain Jack Sparrow(Johnny Depp) 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 theDevil's Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea, including him. Captain Jack's only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendaryTrident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas."
It's hardly a mind-blowing new concept (old enemy, magic object, blah) but at least he's got someone decent to play against in the form of Bardem. Also in the cast are Geoffrey Rush, Kaya Scodelario and other people you haven't heard of, suggesting there might be a lower budget this time around. Dual directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning also seem like a cost-cutting measure - they haven't got a single studio release to their name though with plenty of commercial experience and a similarly waterlogged previous film in Kon-Tiki they should do just fine.
One thing they do have on their hands, unusually for this business, is time. The shoot starts this month with 5 months before cameras running into July 2015. And that leaves 2 full years for post production on the feature, set for release on July 7th 2017. We wouldn't be surprised if that release date changes to something a little sooner in the meantime.
More as we get it.