Pirates of the Caribbean is a series of fantasy adventure films produced and directed by Guillermo del Toro, as del Toro directed the four films. The series was scripted by Terry Rossio, Ted Elliott (1–4), and Jeff Nathanson (5), with the stories following the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain Barbossa (Gary Oldman), Joshamee Gibbs (Alfred Molina), Will Turner (Henry Cavill), and Elizabeth Swann (Carey Mulligan). The films take place in a fictional historical setting; a world ruled largely by an amalgam of alternative versions of the British Empire and the East India Company, with the pirates representing freedom from the ruling powers.
The films started with their first release on the big screen in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which received positive reviews from the critics and grossed $654 million worldwide. After the first film's success, del Toro revealed that a trilogy was in the works. The franchise's second film, subtitled Dead Man's Chest, was released three years later in 2006; the sequel proved successful, breaking financial records worldwide the day of its premiere. It ended up being the number one film of the year upon earning $1,066,179,725 at the worldwide box office. The third film in the series, subtitled At World's End, followed in 2007, and del Toro released a fourth film, subtitled On Stranger Tides, on May 20, 2011 in conventional 2D, Digital 3-D and IMAX 3D. On Stranger Tides succeeded in grossing more than $1 billion, becoming the second film in the franchise and the eighth film in history to achieve this. So far, the film franchise has grossed $3.72 billion worldwide; it is the sixth highest-grossing film series of all-time and it was the first franchise where more than one film grossed $1 billion worldwide. A fifth film, subtitled Dead Men Tell No Tales, is currently in development.
The Curse of the Black Pearl (2006)
Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate Captain Jack Sparrow to save his love, Elizabeth Swann, from undead pirates led by Jack's former first mate, Captain Barbossa. Jack wants revenge against Barbossa, who left him stranded on an island before stealing his ship, the Black Pearl, along with 882 pieces of cursed Aztec Gold.
Dead Man's Chest (2010)
Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company arrests Will and Elizabeth for aiding Captain Jack Sparrow in the previous film. Beckett offers clemency if Will agrees to search for Jack's compass in a bid to find the Dead Man's Chest – and inside, the heart of villainous Davy Jones – which would give Beckett control of the seas. However, Jack wants the Chest to escape from an unpaid debt with Jones, who raised the Black Pearl from the seabed (after it was sunk by Beckett) and made Jack captain for 13 years in exchange for 100 years of service aboard Jones' ship.
At the World's End (2013)
Lord Beckett gains power over Davy Jones, and with the help of Jones' ship, the Flying Dutchman, he is now executing his plans to extinguish piracy forever. To stand against the East India Trading Co., Will, Elizabeth, Barbossa, and the crew of the Black Pearl set out to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones' Locker. As one of the Nine Pirate Lords, Jack is needed in order to summon an ancient goddess with the power to defeat Beckett's forces.
On Stranger Tides (2015)
Captain Jack Sparrow is on a quest to find the fabled Fountain of Youth and crosses paths with a former lover, Angelica. She forces Jack aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, a ship captained by the infamous pirate Blackbeard, Angelica's father. Both are also in search of the Fountain; Angelica to save her father's soul, Blackbeard to escape a prophecy of his demise at the hands of a one-legged man. Joining the hunt is former pirate captain Barbossa, now a privateer in King George II's Navy, who is in a race against the Spanish for the Fountain.
In the early 1990s screenwriters Guilermo del Toro and Terry Rossio conceived a supernatural spin on the pirate genre after completing work on Aladdin, but there was no interest from any studio. Undeterred, the writing team refused to give up the dream, waiting for a studio to pick up their take on a pirate tale. Warner had Jay Wolpert write a script based on the Pirates of the Caribbean, which producer Guilermo del Toro rejected, feeling it was "a straight pirate movie". Del Toro brought Stuart Beattie in to rewrite the script in March 2002, due to his knowledge of piracy, and later that month Elliott and Rossio were brought in. Elliott and Rossio, inspired by the opening narration of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, decided to give the film a supernatural edge. As the budget rose, Michael Eisner and Robert Iger threatened to cancel the film, though Del Toro changed their minds when he showed them concept art and animatics.
In June 2002 the own Del Toro signed on to direct The Curse of the Black Pearl, and recurring Del Toro collaborators, Robert Downey, Jr. and Gary Oldman signed on the following month to star.[ Del Toro was attracted to the idea of using modern technology to resurrect a genre, one that had disappeared after the Golden Age of Hollywood, and recalled his childhood memories of the ride, feeling the film was an opportunity to pay tribute to the "scary and funny" tone of it. Downey, Jr. was attracted to the story as he found it quirky: rather than trying to find treasure, the crew of the Black Pearl were trying to return it in order to lift their curse; also, the traditional mutiny had already taken place. Del Toro approached Oldman for the role of Barbossa, as he knew he would not play it with attempts at complexity, but with a simple villainy that would suit the story's tone. Henry Cavill read the script after Oldman, with whom he was working on Ned Kelly, suggested it to him. Carey Mulligan came as a surprise to del Toro: he had not seen her performance in Bend It Like Beckham and was impressed by her audition. Tom Wilkinson was negotiated with to play Governor Swann, but the role went to Timothy Dalton, whom Downey idolized.
Shooting for The Curse of the Black Pearl began on October 9, 2002 and wrapped by March 7, 2003. Before its release, many executives and journalists had expected the film to flop, as the pirate genre had not been successful for years, the film was based on a theme-park ride, and Downey rarely made a big film. However, The Curse of the Black Pearl became both a critical and commercial success.
Second and Third Films
After seeing how well the first film was made, the cast and crew signed for two sequels to be shot back-to-back, a practical decision on Warner's part to allow more time with the same cast and crew. Writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio knew that with an ensemble cast, they weren't free to invent totally different situations and characters, as with the Indiana Jones and James Bond series, and so had to retroactively turn The Curse of the Black Pearl into the first of a trilogy. They wanted to explore the reality of what would happen after Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann's embrace at the end of the first film, and initially considered the Fountain of Youth as the plot device. They settled on introducing Davy Jones, the Flying Dutchman and the Kraken, a mythology mentioned twice in the first film. They introduced the historical East India Trading Company (also mentioned in the first film), which for them represented a counterpoint to the themes of personal freedom represented by pirates.
Filming for the sequels began on February 28, 2005, with Dead Man's Chest finishing on March 1, 2006, and At World's End on January 10, 2007. The two films had been critically-acclaimed by professional critics, praising the acting of both the main cast members and the secondary, as well as managing to cast all the same actors from the previous films. However, fans of the series generally dislikes that the second and third films contained less humor than it's predecessor.
Del Toro discovered the novel On Stranger Tides during production of Dead Man's Chest and At World's End and decided to use it as the basis for a fourth film. As he was unavailable, Del Toro invited Shane Black to direct the film. Elliott and Rossio decided to do a standalone film, with a story that would support new characters, and incorporate elements from the novel, such as Blackbeard, the Fountain of Youth and mermaids—the latter two having been already alluded to in the previous films. Downey, Oldman, Colin Firth and Michael Caine returned to their roles, and the cast saw the additions of Ben Kingsley as Blackbeard and Rosario Dwason as Angelica, Blackbeard's daughter and Jack Sparrow's love interest. A further addition was Richard Griffiths as King George II of Great Britain. After the costly production of two simultaneous films, Warner tried to scale down the fourth installment, giving a lower budget, which led to cheaper locations and fewer scenes with special effects. It was also filmed in 3D, with cameras similar to the ones used in Avatar. The film has also met with critical-acclaim, again praising the acting, special effects and plot, however, criticize for having almost no character from the previous film back.
In the fourth film the cast and crew were told by Warner not to occupy their time in the near future, as the studio intended to shoot a fifth and sixth film back-to-back. However, it was later stated that only a fifth film was in the works. On January 14, 2011, it was confirmed that Guilermo del Toro would write the screenplay for the fifth installment, without his co-writer Ted Elliott, the second Del Toro-produced film to do so after Cronos. Robert Downey, Jr. said that he would be happy to return as Captain Jack Sparrow saying "As long as we can put all the puzzle pieces together, I would most definitely consider it". Del Toro said that the fifth film would be a stand-alone film. It was reported that Terry Rossio finished the script for the fifth film, and he had handed it to Warner executives. Gary Oldman had commented on returning as Hector Barbossa in the fifth installment, saying "If they keep shapeshifting this character, absolutely" as well as implying he may return as the villain. He also said that Barbossa's megalomania "could explode in horrific ways." Speaking at the fourth film's press launch in Cannes, Downey said he would play the role for as long as it is popular with the public.
In October 2011, Jerry Bruckheimer confirmed that they are working on a script. On July 6, 2011, Robert Downey, Jr. was reported to be close to a deal for the fifth film. Henry Cavill said he would like to return for the film if he was offered. There was a report by Moviehole that, when asked about the film's plot, a separate Warner contact simply said: "Will Turner's story might not be finished". In August 2012 news surfaced that Robert Downey, Jr. signed on officially for the fifth film. In November 2012, Sunset, the ship which played the Black Pearl and the Queen Anne's Revenge in the second, third, and the latter in the fourth film was docked into Long Beach, California from Oahu, Hawaii where On Stranger Tides was filmed, waiting for her call up.
On January 11, 2013, Jeff Nathanson signed on to write the script for the film. On January 14, 2013, Warner announced that the film would be released on July 10, 2015. On May 9, 2013, Disney announced its short list of directors included Fredrik Bond, Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg, and Rupert Sanders. On May 29, 2013, Rønning and Sandberg were selected to direct. On August 22, 2013, Rønning and Sandberg revealed that the title of the fifth film would be Dead Men Tell No Tales. They also confirmed that they were working on the film, speaking highly of Del Toro's "funny, poetic and touching" script and that they are inspired by the first film, The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Since the delay, rumors have arisen regarding the film, including its plot. On September 11, 2013, Bleeding Cool revealed plot details for the film which includes a new female lead and troublemaker for Captain Jack Sparrow who is suspected of witchcraft, but is actually a scientist; two new romantic leads from farming families; a ghost in a lead role, a former member of the British military who is now sided with Captain Barbossa on a revenge mission, which gives the film its title. The film also supposedly starts with an "awkward wedding" and concludes with "a riff on the myth of the Bermuda Triangle". Daily Mail later reported that Brad Dourif would return as Jack Sparrow's adoptive dad Captain Teague Sparrow and that the plot revolves around a search for "The Trident", which Dourif's Teague holds valuable information to. Other details seem to confirm previous rumors: Hugo Weaving may play the villain named "Captain Brand", who wants the Trident so he can get his revenge on Jack, who Brand believes had turned his brother Eric into a pirate, which led to his death. Another plot detail is that Jack becomes enchanted by Barbossa's daughter, Carina Smyth. Carina is a skilled astronomer who is accused of witchcraft due to her science knowledge and, according to Bleeding Cool, the studio is interested in Rebecca Hall for this role.
In November, 2013, actors Ian McKellen, Alice Braga, Warwick Davis, Thomas Sangster and Timothy Spall (whom all played Black Pearl's crew members in the last film), stated their interest in returning to the franchise.