Disney on Tuesday put "Pirates of the Caribbean 5" on hold. The next installment in the franchise from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and star Johnny Depp had been scheduled to be released on July 10, 2015.
The franchise has been a huge moneymaker for Disney, with the first four films having taken in $3.7 billion worldwide, and insiders say the studio is now hoping for a 2016 launch. But Bruckheimer and Depp misfired badly on this summer's megaflop "The Lone Ranger," resulting in a $190 million write-down for Disney, and the actor's box-office clout isn't what it once was.
While the "Pirates" movies and "Alice in Wonderland" have been moneymakers, "Dark Shadows," "The Rum Diary" and "The Tourist" are a few of the underwhelming projects starring the quirky actor in recent years.
Disney's summer 2015 schedule had been crowded. On Monday, the studio shifted its Edgar Wright Marvel movie "Ant-Man" from November to July 15. It also has "Avengers: Age of Ultron" set for May 1 and Pixar's "Inside Out" slated for June 19.
While the domestic returns on the "Pirates" films have been declining, foreign grosses have risen significantly. Back in 2011, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" brought in $241 million in the U.S., the lowest of any film in the series. But its $802 million foreign haul was the best of any of the films, and gave it a $1.04 billion global total.
There is reason for Disney to get the film right, because the effects-heavy "Pirates" movies are major investments. The production budget for "On Stranger Tides" was $250 million.