‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Sails Away from Disney, Anchors at Universal Studios

in Entertainment

On the left, a night-time construction scene at a rocky excavation site illuminated by floodlights. on the right, a close-up of jack sparrow from "pirates of the caribbean," depicted with intense eyes and a tricorn hat.

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

Many Pirates of the Caribbean fans who have thought that Disney and only Disney have had their hands on the swashbuckling $4.5 billion franchise will be stunned to learn that Universal, Disney’s competition, played a much larger role in the film’s development than they would have thought.

Jack Sparrow on the helm of the ship in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl'
Credit: Disney

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is one of the rare occasions in which Disney created an attraction with an original storyline that became so popular that the House of Mouse decided to make a movie based on it. The other successful franchise to have been developed by The Walt Disney Company in the same way.

The Haunted Mansion (2003) was a comedic take that starred Eddie Murphy as a workaholic realtor who visits a creepy mansion. He ventures there with his family and encounters a cast of wacky ghosts played by actors like Terence Stamp, Nathaniel Parker, and Marsha Thomason. This film incidentally was filmed at the same time as Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, which debuted in 2003 as well.

Then, The Haunted Mansion (2023) came out last year. This more recent film is a horror-comedy starring Rosario Dawson, LaKeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, and Tiffany Haddish. It follows a single mom and her son who move into a haunted house and enlist a motley crew to deal with the resident ghosts.

'Haunted Mansion' (2023) cast gathered together
Credit: Disney

Disney has also recently announced that Space Mountain would be getting its own movie as well, so as we can see, Disney has undoubtedly found a financial revenue source by not only turning movies into rides, as we can see with many of the new Disney parks attractions that are based on movies, but turning rides into movies, and expanding the lore within the theme parks to the silver screen.

Pirates of the Caribbean as a franchise has been divulged in controversy as of late, with fans boycotting any future developments due to the loss of Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp looking distressed as Captain Jack Sparrow in 'Pirates of the Caribbean'
Credit: Disney

Depp’s position in Hollywood, while recently questioned by many due to this abuse case with ex-wife Amber Heard, has certainly been earned.

He delivered a heartfelt performance as the misunderstood Edward Scissorhands (1990) in Tim Burton’s classic. Depp dives into another fantastical world as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (2010). He brings his eccentricities to life as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), another collaboration with Tim Burton. Depp’s portrayal of a struggling writer in Finding Neverland (2004) adds a heartwarming touch to this tale inspired by Peter Pan’s creator. And those films are just a scratch on his resume.

As many fans of the franchise know, Disney has decided to remove Johnny Depp from all future Pirates of the Caribbean films, despite him being the lead. Disney mistakenly made this choice before any verdict was made in order to distance themselves from Depp as he was in dark waters with the abuse accusations being made by his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Now, we know that if Disney were to have held loyalty until the verdict was called, they would still have their lead actor, a key fan base, and a future for the franchise since he was not found to be guilty.

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean
Credit: Disney

There have been rumors that Depp would return to the franchise despite him saying he would not come back for the sixth film, even for $300,000,000. At one point, a female version of the film was being contemplated, which would have placed Barbie (2023) star Margot Robbie as the new “Jack Sparrow”, but now, that movie is off the table.

Jerry Bruckheimer has said that the 6th film of Pirates of the Caribbean, however, is in development with a script written, but he did say that it will be a full-on reboot as Disney is not looking to wait for everyone’s schedule to free up in order to begin shooting. So, it seems Disney is going to attempt to start from scratch with the franchise, with an all new cast.
So, Pirates of the Caribbean 6 may not even be a “sixth” film but the start of a new legacy.
Additionally, it might not even be filmed at Disney.
Universal High shared a photo of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides being filmed at none other than the Universal Studios Backlot!

‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ (2011) filming on the Universal backlot

(Source: http://thestudiotour.com)

The Universal backlot in Hollywood is heavily utilized by many studios, and with its giant reservoir of water and a blue screen to match for easy editing, a lot of water-based scenes and films have been shot here as well. While the movie was filmed at Universal, it still holds its Disney name since Disney pays to rent the space from Universal.
There were rumblings that a 6th Pirates of the Caribbean film would debut in 2025, but with the script not having had any updates since the SAG/AFTRA strike put Craig Mazin on hold, and no casting or film announcements having been formally made, a 2025 release would be nearly impossible.
That being said, we can clearly see that Disney plans to develop the franchise further in the future.
Would you like to see a reboot of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise? 

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