It’s undeniable that Pirates of the Caribbean series has lost some luster at the U.S. box office with this summer’s fifth installment, Dead Men Tell No Tales, “only” collecting $172 million, nearly $70 million less than 2011’s On Stranger Tides. But the film looks more like a massive hit once you factor in the $619 million it generated in international grosses, putting its total earnings at $791 million. And producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a chief architect of the Johnny Depp-starring series, said it could’ve tallied much more if not for the overseas financial market.
“I think it did phenomenal,” Bruckheimer told Yahoo Movies during an interview to promote the sequel’s upcoming Blu-ray release. “I mean, you’re talking about the fifth [film] in the series in a down market, and the American dollar is so strong that we’re getting less returns from foreign.”
Bruckheimer blamed a lower exchange rate for the U.S. dollar for significantly impacting the bottom line. “This movie would’ve [made] a billion dollars had it been back in the same financial [situation as On Stranger Tides],” he noted. “But we lost 27 percent of our money just by the conversion rate.”
Along with underperforming titles such as Transformers: The Last Knight and The Mummy, Pirates has been cited as an example of growing “franchise fatigue.” Bruckheimer discounts the argument, saying he believes it’s wrongly based on his film’s less than stellar reviews: Dead Men Tell No Tales registered only a 30 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“The media likes to run with the reviews and we didn’t get great reviews, so they like to say it didn’t do well,” he said. “But god it’s at what, $790 [million] now? It’s amazing.”
As to whether there will be a sixth Pirates movie — which the end credits to Dead Men Tell No Tales seemingly set up — Bruckheimer wasn’t offering any clues. “Well, I hope we can continue to make it,” he said, “but you know we’ve been having so much fun just promoting this one right now that we’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully it’s very successful on DVD as the other ones have been. Then hopefully we’ll sit down and see where we go.”
Asked where Depp stands on doing a sixth, Bruckheimer pointed to the star’s recent visit to a Vancouver children’s hospital in costume as scoundrely hero, Jack Sparrow. “That’s a character beloved by him and his fans, and such a generous action,” said Bruckheimer, likely insinuating that he thinks the actor isn’t quite ready to hang up the tricorn hat.
The super-producer also offered a few updates on other projects in the pipeline:
Bad Boys for Life: Despite Martin Lawrence‘s recent comments that he didn’t think his reteaming with Will Smith for this threequel would actually happen, Bruckheimer remained optimistic. “Well, we’ve been developing it for I don’t know how many years now and we had a period of time where it got pretty close and then it drifted away a little bit and hopefully it will drift back again,” he said. “We have a new writer on it who’s working on it right now, so that gives me encouragement.”
Top Gun: Maverick: Bruckheimer said Tom Cruise’s recent injury on the set of Mission: Impossible 6 shouldn’t delay the start of this sequel to the 1986 favorite. “I think we’ll be OK. We weren’t planning on starting [filming] until January or February. I think he finishes his picture now in December so we should be OK.” The producer is excited by the team that’s assembled, including Cruise, director Joseph Kosinski, and writer Eric Singer. “[The studios] Paramount and Skydance are all thrilled about the direction we’re going in.” As for what that direction could be? “We gotta wait for the pages to come in.”
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales hits DVD and Blu-ray Oct. 3.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’: Watch a deleted scene from the DVD:
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