Disney Moves on From Failed ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Reboot, Replaces With New Franchise

in Disney, Movies

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow

Credit: Disney

Disney has had enough of the struggling Pirates of the Caribbean series and has decided to replace it with a new Disneyland attraction franchise.

Pirates of the Caribbean 6
Credit: Gaby Garza

‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Failed Reboot’

For the better part of two decades, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was one of Disney’s most dominant moneymakers. The series turned Johnny Depp from a respected actor who bounced between arthouse film and moderately successful Tim Burton movies into a global superstar and has grossed $4.5 billion at the box office between five movies.

Before the advent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Pirates of the Caribbean was the closest thing that Disney had to a sure thing at the box office. It also emboldened the company to think that it could potentially turn any Disney Park attraction into a huge film franchise, although The Haunted Mansion (2003), Tomorrowland (2015), and Jungle Cruise (2021) have not exactly borne that out.

Dwayne johnson as Skipper Frank in Disney's Jungle Cruise movie
Credit: Disney

Related: Pirates No More: Disney CEO Bob Iger Announces End of Iconic Attractions, Unveils New Direction

But then Johnny Depp was involved in a massive, widely publicized legal battle against his estranged former spouse, Amber Heard. The lawsuit (which eventually fell largely in Depp’s favor) enormously tarnished the actor’s public image and led to Disney firing him from the franchise. Since then, Depp has largely cut ties with the Mouse, despite persistent rumors that the company has tried to woo him back.

Without Johnny Depp, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has fallen dormant. Disney has been widely reported to be working on a reboot of the series, with Dwayne Johnson and Margot Robbie being primary contenders for the lead (at least, if you ask Jerry Bruckheimer). But there have been no Pirates movies in seven years and no sign that another one is in active development.

Ian McShane as Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Credit: Disney

Instead, it seems that Disney is looking to take one of its so-far untapped Disneyland attractions and build a new potential franchise around it.

A Disney Murder Mystery

Per The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is adapting Club 33, its private dining club at Disneyland, into a murder mystery series in the tone of Clue (1985), the cult comedy based on the board game of the same name. Darren Lemke, who wrote the screenplay for Goosebumps (2015) and the story for Shazam! (2019) is reportedly working on a script, which will be developed by 21 Laps Entertainment, the production company of Deadpool & Wolverine director Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, and Dan Cohen.

Front door to club 33
Credit: Disney

Club 33 is a “secret” private dining club located on Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, coincidentally above the Pirates of the Caribbean dark ride. While it has expanded to locations in Tokyo Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland, and the Walt Disney World Resort, the original location was intended as a space for Walt Disney himself to host bigwigs and sponsors.

Related: Austin Butler Offered Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 6’ Amid Permanent Johnny Depp Set Suspension

However, Walt Disney died six months before Club 33 opened, and it has since become a members-only dining club with a strict, years-long waiting list for the privilege of paying reportedly up to $20,000 a year to visit. In short, Club 33 is arguably the most exclusive and rarefied part of the entire Disneyland Resort.

A luxurious bar setup featuring an ornate menu or sign decorated with a golden "33" emblem in the foreground. The background, reminiscent of a scene Kristen Bell might frequent, includes a well-stocked bar with various bottles, a mirror, and ambient lighting.
Credit: Disney

Now, it seems the plan is to adapt the exclusive club into a family-friendly murder mystery story. Shawn Levy‘s involvement as a producer strongly implies that a Club 33 movie would have a light tone similar to the Night at the Museum films, all of which he directed. THR describes the movie’s plot as:

“[T]he story centers on a young aspiring detective who receives a mysterious invite to the highly secretive Club 33. In this case, it’s a magical and exclusive dining club whose members are the greatest and most iconic figures from across history. When a murder is committed on the premises, the patrons look to the young detective to solve it.”

Only time will tell whether this new Club 33 project will be able to transform the New Orleans Square fixture into a full multimedia franchise like Pirates of the Caribbean. But, at this point, it seems that Disney is prepared to try just about anything. While it may have failed to reboot the franchise (so far), and no other ride has exploded in the same way, Club 33 just might.

What Disneyland attraction would you turn into a movie? Tell us in the comments below!

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