Disney is at it again. Word has come out that Disney is working with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writers of Deadpool, in hopes of rebooting the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. For context, it’s only been a year and a half since Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth entry in the series, was released. It had the lowest opening day in franchise history and only made a profit because it performed well overseas. The overall series has been in a decline since Dead Man’s Chest (2006), going from a North American gross of $423 million to $172 million in 2017, a significant drop in profits.
The idea that Disney wants to reboot a film franchise which is becoming increasingly unpopular is ludicrous to say the very least. It’s easy to understand why Disney wants to do it; so far the franchise has made over one billion dollars and the studio doesn’t want to let a chance at future profits go. Here’s the problem, however, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and certain problems attached with it (i.e. Johnny Depp) is still ingrained in the minds of viewers.
For a reboot to have a chance at being successful, the audience needs to be given a chance to forget what has come before. If Disney begins a reboot as early as, say, next year, the audience is going to go in fully remembering the semi-disaster that was Dead Men Tell No Tales and will be making comparisons with what they see, to the detriment of the new film.
This news is also depressing because it shows once again Disney is sorely lacking in original ideas. The list of announced remakes and reboots grows longer every month, inciting louder groans of frustration with every new announcement. As good as the first Pirates of the Caribbean was, audiences don’t want to see the same story played over again, they want something new.
Even with a new cast, this franchise is going to be forever stuck in Johnny Depp’s shadow (whether he’s actually present or not). When you think about Johnny Depp’s most famous work one of the first names that comes to mind is Captain Jack Sparrow. Any film released under the Pirates of the Caribbean name will be linked back to him, and given the controversy surrounding the actor, that’s not a good thing.
The other issue bugging me is, what on Earth is it going to be about? The current franchise has gone pretty much every place a story about pirates can go. We’ve seen ghost ships, undead pirates, Davey Jones, the Flying Dutchman, sea witches, pirate kings, even the legendary Kraken has put in an appearance. These five films have covered so much material there’s almost nothing left for a reboot to cover. That’s a big problem if Disney reboots the series and the new film comes out like an exact replay of The Curse of the Black Pearl, all anyone will be saying is “What is the point of this film when we can just watch the original?”.
The point is this, whether Disney likes it or not, Pirates of the Caribbean has more than run its course (for the moment at least) and should be left alone for the time being. If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to drive fans away, it’s shoving a rebooted franchise down our throats, and if Disney persists in creating this reboot, that’s exactly what they’ll be doing.