Favorite Pirates of the Caribbean Movie

The 2000s were a turning point for movies. With franchises X-Men and Spider-Man starting up at the same time the likes of Star Wars and The Matrix were winding down, the modern Hollywood blockbuster was gradually beginning to take shape. Whether it was the emphasis on visual effects or stars (both rising and previous big names) getting caught up in the tentpole movie machine, you can chart a lot of modern filmmaking back to today, and one franchise in particular is emblematic of this.

Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl had its wide release 20 years ago on July 9, 2003. Directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the film is famously based on the titular attraction at various Disney theme parks. It wasn’t the first live-action film Disney ever did, but it did feel different; not only was it the first Walt Disney Pictures movie to be rated PG-13, it felt like an event unto itself. This was the first big-budget pirate movie of the 2000s, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as Universal’s Mummy movies were keeping the action-adventure genre was fairly healthy.

Despite what low box office expectations back then, Black Pearl did extremely well, earning $654.3 million worldwide and becoming the fourth highest-grossing movie of 2003. It’s the reason pirates have been so popular in the last two decades, and games such as Kingdom Hearts III and Sea of Thieves have featured the franchise in some capacity. And naturally, Disney wasn’t going to let things end with Pearl, which ended up working against the franchise. Even as 2006 and 2007’s pair of back-to-back sequels Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End were raking in the cash, both of them were dinged for some of the same things, including their overcomplicated plots and being too long. There was a general feeling of exhaustion with the franchise after World’s End brought things to a close, but Disney figured things would be fine by jettisoning Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom so Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow could take center stage and get in one misadventure after another.

Image: Disney

Nowadays, it’s not clear what’s going on with the Pirates movies. The Margot Robbie-led film is still said to be in the works, along with separate movie focused on a younger cast of characters and a movie that may continue the story of the original movies. In the case of the latter (or a full-on franchise restart), Disney’s been very cagey on whether or not Depp will return in any capacity, and will likely remain as such for the foreseeable future.

Until the day that announcement comes, it’s as good a time as any to look back on the franchise and the parts that didn’t wear out their welcome. Let us know in the comments below some of your favorite movies from the series.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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