By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist June 2, 2011 at 1:02AM
Chris Weitz, Alfonso Cuaron Also Allegedly In The Running
"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" might have made the much-mocked second and third Gore Verbinski-helmed entries in the series look like masterpieces in comparison, but audiences don't seem to care much -- especially internationally, moviegoers love them some Johnny Depp and it's already raked in a staggering $650 million in less than two weeks in release. Inevitably, this means that talk is turning to a fifth installment, a script for which has already been commissioned by Disney from Terry Rossio, who with partner Ted Elliott wrote all four installments to date.
That script is apparently already complete, but Depp's remained non committal on a fifth entry in the ever-diminishing returns of the franchise, saying last month "It boils down to story, script and filmmaker. It’s not something where I would say, ‘Let’s shoot it next month to get it out by Christmas 2012. We should hold off for a bit. They should be special, just like they are special to me." Of course, considering that the vital triangle of 'story, script and filmmaker' in "On Stranger Tides" could be described as "non-existent," "hastily pasted-together" and "totally incompetent," we're not that convinced by the megastar's integrity on this one. Anyway, Cinema Blend have heard some rumors about the possible director of the next installment, and, if true, there are some ambitious choices, as well as a bunch of terrible ones.
While an offer has been out to Rob Marshall, director of the fourth film, since earlier in the year, the poisonous reviews may have convinced Disney execs to look elsewhere, and supposedly the top choice is Depp's BFF Tim Burton, who delivered a billion dollar hit to the studio with "Alice in Wonderland." It's the kind of half-assed choice that seems to sum up the franchise these days, but we'd be very surprised if Burton took the gig: the fifth installment of someone else's franchise would be an unprecedented move for the director, who tends to self-generate his projects. But if Depp really wants him, he'll probably get him.
Sam Raimi, who's about to direct "Oz The Great and Powerful" for the studio, is also mentioned, as is, more happily, "Children of Men" director Alfonso Cuaron, who nearly directed Depp in "The Tourist," but both seem like long shots at this point, unless 'Oz' or Cuaron's "Gravity" really tank and the directors find themselves in need of a hit. More the speed of the slowly dying franchise are Chris Weitz, helmer of "The Golden Compass" and "Twilight: New Moon," and Shawn Levy, of "Night at the Museum" and "Real Steel" fame, who are also seemingly on the list: both have already proven themselves adept at making shitty blockbusters crammed to the gills with CGI, so they'd be right at home with a fifth 'Pirates' flick.
It's early days yet, and at the very best, what Cinema Blend have is some kind of internal wish list, rather than names in serious contention, so it's possible that the closest any of these directors get to the film is a swift "No" from their agents. We're also likely some time off from seeing the film: Depp has "Dark Shadows" and "The Lone Ranger" to shoot this year, and has professed a desire for a substantial gap before the next film. Might we suggest forty years or so?