Disney Cutting Cost of Pirates of the Caribbean 4 [Updated]

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 10:15 am,

pirates of the caribbean 4 logo2 Disney Cutting Cost of Pirates of the Caribbean 4 [Updated]

Update: Pirates of the Caribbean 4 screenwriter, Terry Rossio, has wrote on his blog denying the news that the film’s budget is being cut as LA Times report says. See below for details.

It’s no surprise that in these tough economic times, even movies aren’t safe. We’re hearing word that the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides is being scaled back in terms of production costs, which could affect how you, the audience, see the movie.

LA Times has run a piece detailing the lowering of the Pirates of the Caribbean 4 budget. The deal is that new Disney chairman Rich Ross is taking things in a new direction by trying to cut down costs on those big-budget special effects extravaganza’s that Pirates producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, is known for.

On top of the current economic situation, there’s also things like DVD sales declining while production and marketing costs are rising. So naturally things are going to get squeezed at the ground level. Although the budget for Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is still north of $200 million, the budget being imposed on Bruckheimer and Co. is at least a third less than the last movie.

To achieve this lower budget, there’s going to be fewer shooting days – dropping to between 90-95 when the last movie had 142 days. And there will be less visual effects shots than we’re used to from the franchise – the number is expected to be between 1,300-1,400 rather than the regular 2,000.

Pirates of the Caribbean Davy Jones Disney Cutting Cost of Pirates of the Caribbean 4 [Updated]

We'll see less amazing visual effects like this in Pirates of the Caribbean 4.

Although Bruckheimer maintains that, “the audience will never miss it,” he and director Rob Marshall (an unlikely choice to take the franchise out of Gore Verbinski’s hands) are still going through the script line-by-line and seeing where any costs can be cut. Said Marshall:

“This is by far the biggest budget I’ve ever worked with… We’re all working hard to keep it as lean as possible…. It’s a tricky time in the economy. You can’t be insane.”

I’m sure Bruckheimer wasn’t completely happy with being told he couldn’t splash out as lavishly on productions as he is accustomed to, but new Disney chairman Rich Ross assured him, as Bruckheimer explains:

“He [Ross] looked at me and said, ‘I will work with you to figure out the economics of the movies going forward because I understand what we are all facing.’ And I said two words: thank you.”

If you’re wondering how else these cut backs are going to affect what you get to see onscreen: some of the more extravagant action sequences are being changed or entirely cut. One in particular that is noted in LA Times’ article is an elaborate carriage chase where Captain Jack Sparrow is being chased through the streets of London – the original scheduled shooting time for that was 12 days but it’s been cut to 4-6 days.

pirates of the caribbean jack sparrow Disney Cutting Cost of Pirates of the Caribbean 4 [Updated]

Less extravagance for Captain Jack

Also, it’s noted that scriptwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio are changing the script so that Captain Jack spends less time on the high seas and more time on land. It goes without saying the cost of shooting on water is a lot higher. But aren’t those maritime scenes crucial to make it a movie about, you know - pirates?…

Bruckheimer explained about what he thinks of having to change and cut things:

“The hard thing is you have to make painful decisions that cut into some very entertaining sequences… You have to figure out how to keep the movie very entertaining and give the audience more than what they expect and yet be cost-effective about it.”

If you’re interested you can read the rest of the details on the cost-cutting over at LA Times.

I doubt when all is said and done we as the audience will be shouting in anger at the screen when the next Pirates movie opens, because we haven’t seen what was there to miss. But still, with a movie like this you expect things to be as fantastic and awe-inspiring as possible (without turning it in a mess, as they did with Pirates 2 and 3) and evidently it’s not going to be quite as up to the level as most people would expect.

Of course, with less superficial eye-candy maybe some better storytelling will get done? We’ll have to wait and see.

Update: It appears that LA Times’ article might not bee entirely true, at least according to Pirates 4 screenwriter, Terry Rossio. He wrote on his blog that LA Times‘ report was written with a “slant” and what Bruckheimer and Marshall were saying (as quoted above) was misused as quotes. Although Rossio admits he doesn’t know what the budget of Pirates 4 will be yet, it’ll probably be higher than the first film, round about the same as the second and lower than the third. But at this point the budget hasn’t been set so, “there’s nothing to report.”

What do you think of all this (possible) cost-cutting with regards to Pirates of the Caribbean 4? Who do you believe: LA Times’ report that the cost is being cut on the movie or the screenwriter who says the budget hasn’t been set yet?

Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides begins filming on June 14th this year in Hawaii, and already has a confirmed release date of May 20th, 2011.

Source: LA Times (via /Film) & WordPlayer

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  1. Goodness, how sad is it when $200 million isn’t enough money to make a movie?

  2. With the disappointment of Clash of the Titans, Transformers 2, Star Wars I and II you would think that Hollywood would have figured out that a story with excellent special effects is a must.

    You don’t have to spend all your money on effects, you need both.

    So as long as the script is well written, engaging, exciting and PLAUSABLE no one would even notest the lack of effects, and will be back in line for a 5th. Effects are only needed to make the scenes believable; they are however not needed to make a scene, a story is.

    Fans today are a lot more critical of movie plots then they where just a few years ago.

  3. Will Keith Richards and Mick Jagger still be in the film? That’s the only thing that has me interested in it at this point.

  4. I think the budget for the last 2 were more than the first, and the first was the best of them all.

  5. Less special effects? What will Hollywood do? Write, *gasp* better stories?

  6. I can’t say its a bad thing to cut down on special effects.

  7. The production of ALL the POTC movies has been great, I like reading that some sort of expert historians were employed to make the map in P3, and about all the research that’s done. Was already worried that the Pacific location will be noticeable, as well as the planned work in London. Money doesn’t equal a great film, but it doesn’t help when you start snickering over the special effects as in Indy 4 and that fake car chase along the cliff. Now I’m glad Marshall is at the helm as he is used to tight budgets, and hope Bruckheimer can tap some outside financing if needed. Don’t mess it up Disney, “Stranger Tides” is a great story and you have a great cast, don’t screw it up by getting laughably cheap.

  8. If the budget is cut and we’re getting a third less of a movie, then will the tickets be cut so the studios will get a third less of a profit?
    Although Bruckheimer maintains that, “the audience will never miss it,” we, the audience, maintain that “the studios will never miss it, either.”
    there. now that that’s settled, what’s next?

  9. Update: Terry Rossio on comingsoon.net is saying this is all BS: “This is a great example of entertainment reporting, and has been the source of much amusement around the production offices.

    Here’s what really happened. An LA Times reporter decided (ahead of any facts) to write a story about cutbacks on summer movies, Pirates in particular. He then managed to get a general interview or two. In the course of the interview, like any responsible studio or producer, people maintained they were trying to get the best movie possible at a reasonable price. Imagine that.

    The reporter then had just enough credibility to write a story with a slant.

    No need for the facts to get in the way. My guess is the budget on P4 will be higher than P1, in the realm of P2, and lower than P3. (And the difference there has more to do with the difficulty of shooting two movies, deadlines, hurricanes, tank issues, multiple star salaries, and myriad other details.) Hard to even tell, as the budget on P4 contains various tax deferments, and the decision has still not been made to shoot in 3D. Actually, the budget on P4 isn’t even set yet, so really, there is nothing to report.

    The truth is, the studio and everyone involved fought just as hard to lower the budgets of P1, P2, and P3 as they are on P4. Nothing has changed. Are there budget meetings on P4 to look for ways to get the most for the money? Of course. Same as on every film. It’s a complete non-story. But now the ‘spin’ is out there, sure to be repeated.”

    • Virginia,

      We’ve updated our article to reflect that.

      Vic

  10. Why is it all the good acters are not in pirates 4. Yes Depp is in it but not the aothers.

  11. Why do we have to wait a year for it to come out. I have been waitting two years and I want to see it now not in a year

  12. i want to work in the film pirates of ccccccc 4

  13. Im Really dissapointed i was so excited about this film untill about 5 mintues ago when i read that Will/Orlando Bloom and Elizabeth/Keira KNightly will not be partaking in the next film… i am ragin now cas they had such a good story line that was left wide open.. :( now that their gone it makes the film seem much less sought for..?It wont be as good without them .

    >:(