By now, assuming that you've been keeping up on your movie news, you've probably gotten wind of the fact that Summer 2015 is going to feature more prize pony franchise installments and cash cow blockbuster sequels than you can shake a stick at: The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Batman vs. Superman, Jurassic Park IV and Terminator 5, to name but a few. Hence, studios have good reason to reconsider launching all of their developing hefty investments in theaters during that same four-month period (two years away from the time of writing this).
We've already hear rumblings about a couple of big titles that may be moving away from the approaching storm in 2015, like Star Wars: Episode VII - Disney is now reported to be looking at a Winter Holiday season release instead of the summer-time - and the Independence Day sequel, which writer/director Roland Emmerich doesn't expect to invade the planet before 2016. Officially-speaking, though, we can confirm that Disney has shifted Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales back from its previously-set July 2015 date.
The Mouse House's decision makes sense, following yesterday's announcement that the studio has bumped up Marvel's Ant-Man to a July 2015 release date, in part as a means to allow filmmaker Edgar Wright's superhero movie to build on the momentum from Avengers: Age of Ultron releasing less than three months earlier. Moreover, Disney now has its bases covered throughout the season without a need to be concerned about overlap, since the Avengers sequel will open in theaters on May 1st, followed by Pixar's Inside Out during mid-June and then Ant-Man on the last day of July 2015. (That also makes the scenario of Episode VII releasing in December 2015 all the more likely to happen.)
Deadline is reporting that the reason why Disney has decided to push Pirates 5 back to 2016 - with Ant-Man essentially taking its place in Summer 2015 - is due to the studio not wanting to rush the project down the production pipeline too fast. The studio issued the following statement, claiming as much to be the case:
“Like audiences around the globe, we have high expectations for Jack Sparrow’s next adventure and we want to have all the right elements in place,” said Disney production president Sean Bailey. “We’re not there yet and we want to make sure this project is everything these wonderful characters and of course the fans deserve.”
Jokes about the previous lackluster Pirates installment (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strangers Tides) aside, Disney has all-too fresh memories of The Lone Ranger's box office disappointment as a painful reminder of the fact that even a big-budget crowd-pleasing adventure - headlined by Johnny Depp as an eccentric character - isn't guaranteed to make back its hefty budget (both production and marketing) if the moviegoing masses aren't given enough reason to be interested.
The Pirates brand name is more bankable than Lone Ranger no doubt, but Disney is reported to have already taken cost-cutting measures on Pirates 5 so as to avoid winding up with yet another $250 million under-performer on its hands (after Lone Ranger and John Carter). Not to mention, that move is just in case a larger-enough number of people have decided that they've had their fill of Jack Sparrow - no matter how good his new adventure looks in trailer form (and during the inevitable marketing blitz) - that Dead Men Tell No Tales falls well short of the $1 billion mark reached by the last three installments.
... Though, to be fair, it'll probably still gross a
disgusting large sum of money, no matter what.
More importantly, from an artistic perspective, Dead Men Tell No Tales could use the extra time, given directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg's lack of experience in the department of big-budget filmmaking. The duo will draw from a screenplay written by Jeff Nathanson - whose screenwriting credits include Speed 2: Cruise Control, Rush Hour 2 & 3 and Tower Heist - but the pair will need time to adjust to the stresses of spectacle-driven moviemaking, especially as they followup their previous film (the low-budget Norwegian sea-faring drama Kon-Tiki).
Principal photography on the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean installment was expected to commence by February 2014, but as of right now there's no official start date for production. In the meantime, be sure and let us know if you are more, less, or equally likely/unlikely to see Jack Sparrow's next adventure (full of supernatural beasties and unhygienic sea-farerers) in theaters - based solely on the fact that it looks to open in the Summer of 2016, rather than the wallet-draining Summer 2015 season.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales should reach theaters by Summer 2016.