Über-producer Jerry Bruckheimer may have ended his first-look deal with Disney following a series of under-performers and franchise non-starters, but talk of a fifth adventure starring Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow persists. Long-rumored to be subtitled Dead Men Tell No Tales, Pirates of the Carribean 5 was supposedly going to be released in 2015, before its release was postponed to 2016 - but we now know it hasn't actually been green-lit yet.
Despite having Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki) attached to direct a script by Jeff Nathanson (Tower Heist), the most recent comments on Pirates 5 from Disney chairman Alan Horn cast more uncertainty on the fate of the project than anything else. Still, Bruckheimer seems determined to at least keep the idea alive and in the minds of fans of the billion-dollar franchise.
While at the 54th Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco, the producer spoke very briefly to WTLV (hat tip to /Film) about the timeline for Pirates 5, suggesting that the film could start shooting in early 2015. According to Bruckheimer, we should look forward to:
"A new adventure from Johnny Depp, Captain Jack. And hopefully we'll get started after the first of the year, that's what we're looking forward to."
This remark is in no way an official announcement, and moves the start date back yet again. Given Disney's wildly lucrative investment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and commitment to jump-starting the Star Wars franchise for a new generation, it's starting to feel more and more like the Pirates series is far from a priority.
As for Depp, the star is coming off of Disney mega-flop The Lone Ranger and the disappointing Transcendence, but the studio hasn't quite given up on him and his (now questionable) drawing power, since he's due to reprise his role as the Mad Hatter in the Alice in Wonderland sequel after shooting the Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass. Depp's dance card is still perennially full, but Bruckheimer's remarks might suggest there's enough of a window in early 2015 to get the star aboard.
Given the critical derision of the fourth entry On Stranger Tides, has the goodwill generated by Gore Verbinski's initial 2003 entry dissipated? The film's billion-dollar international box office take suggests this isn't the case, but here in the States, On Stranger Tides didn't quite break even.
That might not matter in the long run, but with Marvel's interconnected movie universe going strong and Stars Wars: Episode VII poised to make all the money in late 2015, is there room for more Pirates in the public consciousness? Expect more updates on Pirates 5 as they become available.
Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is currently in development.