As 2018 came to a close, Disney fans got a surprising announcement: The studio is going to be rebooting the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise - and they're doing it without franchise star Johnny Depp!
Well, a new report reveals that Disney's decision to move on with Pirates sans Depp may not be purely for the sake of new creative direction for the franchise: the studio apparently will save a boatload of money by doing so!
As Forbes breaks it down, Disney will save $90 million in production costs by not including Depp as part of this sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Depp had been commanding that price after five Pirates movies, over a nearly fifteen year span; however the last film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales brought in the lowest domestic returns of any film in the franchise, signaling that Depp was, perhaps, no longer worth his expensive price tag.
In a larger sense, this has been an increasing problem for Johnny Depp all across his career. The 2010s are plagued with Depp-film flops, (The Tourist, The Rum Diary, Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger, Mortdecai...); his personal life hit the skids with domestic abuse accusations and a messy divorce from wife Amber Heard; his finances got twisted up in bad real estate deals and legal disputes with old managers; and as the culture has turned against abuses of power and masculinity in Hollywood, even Depp's presence in guaranteed hit franchises like Fantastic Beasts have come under fire by those inspired by social movements against abuse like #MeToo and #TimesUp.
To put it in Hollywood terms: Johnny Depp is somewhat radioactive these days. Picking him up for a movie project is sure to shine a certain light of controversy on the project in question, as the Depp-haters swarm - and it's far from a guarantee that Depp's presence will in any way make the movie a success. Add to that a price tag like $90 million for something like a Pirates film, and yeah... who would want to pay for that headache?
Right now, the Pirates of the Caribbean reboot is being written by Deadpool and Zombieland duo, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The reboot is rumored to be following the recent updates to the actual Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Disney parks, by introducing a female pirate character named Redd. Here's what Disney Production chief Sean Bailey had to say about the new direction of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise:
"We want to bring in a new energy and vitality," Bailey said. "I love the [Pirates] movies, but part of the reason Paul and Rhett are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants. And that's what I've tasked them with."
Are you ready for Pirates of the Caribbean without Johnny Depp? Let us know in the comments!