Pirates of the Caribbean (film series)

Pirates of the Caribbean (film series)
Pirates of the Caribbean film series

2011 DVD box set
Directed by Gore Verbinski (1-3)
Rob Marshall (4)
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer
Written by Terry Rossio
Ted Elliott
Stuart Beattie (1)
Jay Wolpert (1)
Based on Walt Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean
Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides (4)
Starring Johnny Depp
Geoffrey Rush
Kevin McNally
Orlando Bloom (1-3)
Keira Knightley (1-3)
Jack Davenport (1-3)
Bill Nighy (2 & 3)
Penélope Cruz (4)
Ian McShane (4)
Music by Hans Zimmer
Klaus Badelt (1)
Rodrigo y Gabriela (4)
Studio Walt Disney Pictures
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date(s) 1: 02003-07-09 July 9, 2003
2: 02006-07-07 July 7, 2006
3: 02007-05-25 May 25, 2007
4: 02011-05-20 May 20, 2011
Running time 600 minutes (1-4)
Country United States
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget Total (4 films):
Box office Total (4 films):

Pirates of the Caribbean is a series of fantasy-adventure films directed by Gore Verbinski (13) and Rob Marshall (4), written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. All four films are based on a Walt Disney theme park ride of the same name, and follow the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally), Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), Angelica (Penélope Cruz), Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Philip Swift (Sam Claflin) and the mermaid Syrena (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey).

The films started with their first release on the big screen in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. After the success of the first film, Walt Disney Pictures revealed that a trilogy was in the works. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was released three years later in 2006. The sequel proved successful, breaking records worldwide the day of its premiere. In the end, it earned $1,066,179,725 at the worldwide box office, becoming the fourth and fastest film (at the time) to reach this amount. The third film in the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, was released in 2007. In September 2008, Depp signed on for a fourth film in the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, released on May 20, 2011 in conventional 2D, IMAX, Disney Digital 3-D and IMAX 3D. It succeeded in grossing more than $1 billion, becoming the eighth and fourth-fastest film to achieve this. So far, the film franchise has grossed $3.72 billion worldwide and it is the only franchise with two films that reached $1 billion worldwide. It has been confirmed that two more installments to the franchise are included in Disney's future plans.[1] In July 2011, Johnny Depp confirmed he was closing in on a deal for a fifth installment and that the franchise wouldn't be going ahead without Depp's participation.[2]

Although it has never been officially confirmed, there is strong evidence to suggest that the series was influenced by, and perhaps loosely based upon, the Monkey Island series of video games. Ted Elliott, one of the two screenwriters of the first four Pirates of the Caribbean films, was allegedly the writer of a Steven Spielberg-produced animated film adaptation of Monkey Island entitled The Curse of Monkey Island (presumably based on the game of the same name), which was cancelled before its official announcement, three years prior to the release of The Curse of the Black Pearl.[3] This film was allegedly in production at Industrial Light & Magic before being cancelled.[4]

Ron Gilbert, the creator of the Monkey Island series, has jokingly expressed a bitterness towards the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise for its similarities to Monkey Island.[5] Gilbert has also stated that On Stranger Tides, a novel by Tim Powers which was adapted into the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, was the principal source of inspiration for his video games.[6]



First film

In the early 1990s[7] screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio conceived of writing a film based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Disney had Jay Wolpert write a script based on the ride, which producer Jerry Bruckheimer rejected, feeling it was "a straight pirate movie".[8] Stuart Beattie was brought in[by whom?] to rewrite the script in March 2002, due to his knowledge of piracy,[9] and later that month Elliott and Rossio were brought in.[8] Elliott and Rossio, inspired by the opening narration of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme-park ride, decided to give the film a supernatural edge.[10] As the budget rose, Michael Eisner and Robert Iger threatened to cancel the film, though Bruckheimer changed their minds when he showed them concept art and animatics.[11]

In May 2002 Gore Verbinski signed on to direct Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush signed on the following month to star.[9] Verbinski was attracted to the idea of using modern technology to resurrect a genre 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. Depp 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. Verbinski approached Rush 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.[12] Orlando Bloom read the script after Rush, whom he was working with on Ned Kelly, suggested it to him.[13] Keira Knightley came as a surprise to Verbinski: he had not seen her performance in Bend It Like Beckham and was impressed by her audition.[12] Tom Wilkinson was negotiated with to play Governor Swann,[9] but the role went to Jonathan Pryce, whom Depp idolized.[12]

Shooting for The Curse of the Black Pearl began on October 9, 2002 and wrapped by March 7, 2003.[9] Before its release, many[who?] 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 Depp rarely made a big film.[14] 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 more sequels to be shot back-to-back,[15] a practical decision on Disney's part to allow more time with the same cast and crew.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] 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, which for them represented a counterpoint to the themes of personal freedom represented by pirates.[19]

Filming for the sequels began on February 28, 2005, 8:30 AM,[20] with Dead Man's Chest finishing on March 1, 2006,[21] and At World's End on January 10, 2007.[22]

Fourth film

Due to the trilogy's success and Depp's desire to play Jack Sparrow again, a fourth film was put into the works. On April 2007, Disney bought the rights to Tim Powers' novel On Stranger Tides, which Rossio and Elliot discovered during production of Dead Man's Chest and At World's End and decided to use as the basis for a fourth movie. As Gore Verbinski was unavailable, Bruckheimer invited Rob Marshall to direct the film.[23] Elliott and Rossio decided to do a standalone film,[24] with a story that would support new characters,[25] and incorporate elements from the novel, such as Blackbeard, the Fountain of Youth and mermaids - the latter two having been already alluded in the previous films.[26] Depp, Rush, Greg Ellis and Kevin McNally returned to their roles,[27] and the cast saw the additions of Ian McShane as Blackbeard and Penélope Cruz as Angelica, Blackbeard's daughter and Jack Sparrow's love interest.[28] After the costly production of two simultaneous films, Disney tried to scale down the fourth installment, giving a lower budget,[29] which led to cheaper locations and fewer scenes with special effects.[30] It was also filmed in 3D, with cameras similar to the ones used in Avatar.[23]

Filming for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides began June 15, 2010 and ended on November 19, 2010.[30][31] It was released in the United States on May 20, 2011.[32]


Fifth film

The actors playing in the fourth film were told by Disney not to occupy their time in the near future, as the studio intends to shoot a fifth and sixth film back-to-back.[1] On January 14, 2011, it was confirmed that Terry Rossio will write the screenplay for the fifth installment, without his co-writer Ted Elliott.[33] Johnny Depp 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". Jerry Bruckheimer said that the fifth film would be a stand-alone film. According to Terry Rossio, the script for the fifth film is finished, and he has handed the script to Disney executives.[34] Speaking at the fourth film's press launch in Cannes, Depp said he would play the role for as long as it is popular with the public.[35] Disney has a wishlist of directors they would like to direct, as Rob Marshall has not yet accepted or declined to direct. The list includes Tim Burton, Sam Raimi, Alfonso Cuaron, Shawn Levy, Chris Weitz, and original Pirates director Gore Verbinski. Verbinski and Burton are Disney's top choices as they have both worked with Disney and Johnny Depp on numerous occasions.[36] On July 6, 2011, Johnny Depp confirmed on a deal for the fifth film.[2] Orlando Bloom said he would like to return for a fifth film if he was offered.[37]

In October 2011, Jerry Bruckheimer confirmed that a script was finished, but that it could be better.[38][39] In an interview, Kevin McNally stated that a summer 2012 production start was possible. Because of the financial success of On Stranger Tides, the film's director Rob Marshall may return to direct.[40] Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is expected to be released to theaters in the summer of 2013.[41]


The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

When the Caribbean city of Port Royal is attacked by the crew of the infamous pirate vessel, the Black Pearl, Elizabeth Swann, daughter of the city Governor, is kidnapped. The pirates, led by Captain Hector Barbossa, are attempting to lift a curse placed upon them after they stole a chest of Aztec gold. Blacksmith Will Turner, a childhood friend and secret admirer of Elizabeth, persuades pirate Captain Jack Sparrow to help him find and rescue her.

Dead Man's Chest (2006)

Lord Cutler Beckett, a powerful and ruthless East India Trading Co. agent, arrests Will and Elizabeth for aiding Jack Sparrow's escape in the previous film. Beckett, however, offers clemency if Will agrees to search for Sparrow and his magical compass. At the same time, Sparrow tries to release himself from an old debt with villainous Davy Jones by finding the Dead Man's Chest which he can use to command Jones to do his bidding.

At World's End (2007)

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 Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones' Locker. Sparrow, as one of the Nine Pirate Lords, is needed in order to summon an ancient goddess, with the power to defeat Beckett's forces.

On Stranger Tides (2011)

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 for the Fountain; Angelica to save her father's soul, the Spanish to destroy the fountain believing that the powers are an abomination against God, and Blackbeard to escape a prophecy of his fatal demise by a one legged man. Former pirate captain Barbossa, now a privateer in King George II's Navy, is in search of the fountain with Britain, and to exact revenge against Blackbeard for having sunk the Black Pearl and losing his right leg.

Principal cast

Character Film
The Curse of the Black Pearl
Dead Man's Chest
At World's End
On Stranger Tides
Captain Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp
Captain Hector Barbossa Geoffrey Rush
Joshamee Gibbs Kevin McNally
Will Turner Orlando Bloom  
Elizabeth Swann Keira Knightley  
James Norrington Jack Davenport  
Governor Weatherby Swann Jonathan Pryce  
Pintel Lee Arenberg  
Ragetti Mackenzie Crook  
Marty Martin Klebba  
Cotton David Bailie  
Scarlett Lauren Maher  
Giselle Vanessa Branch  
Lt. Theodore Groves Greg Ellis   Greg Ellis
Murtogg Giles New   Giles New  
Mullroy Angus Barnett   Angus Barnett  
Lieutenant Gillette Damian O'Hare   Damian O'Hare
Anamaria Zoe Saldana  
Davy Jones   Bill Nighy  
Lord Cutler Beckett   Tom Hollander  
Tia Dalma (Calypso)   Naomie Harris  
Bootstrap Bill Turner   Stellan Skarsgård  
Mercer   David Schofield  
Sao Feng   Chow Yun-fat  
Captain Teague   Keith Richards
Angelica   Penélope Cruz
Blackbeard   Ian McShane
Scrum   Stephen Graham
Philip Swift   Sam Claflin
Cabin-Boy   Robbie Kay
Syrena   Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey
The Spaniard   Óscar Jaenada
King Ferdinand VI   Sebastian Armesto
King George II   Richard Griffiths
Gahreng   Yuki Matsuzaki
Tamara   Gemma Ward
Salaman   Paul Bazely
Derrick   Richard Thompson
Quartermaster   Ian Mercer
Gunner   Deobia Oparei
Master-at-Arms   Derek Mears
Yeoman   Danny Le Boyer
Jack the Monkey Tara / Levi Chiquita / Pablo
Cotton's Parrot Christopher S. Capp (Voice) Appears only
Prison Dog Chopper[42]  

Principal crew

Role Film
The Curse of the Black Pearl Dead Man's Chest At World's End On Stranger Tides
Director Gore Verbinski Rob Marshall
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer
Writer Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Stuart Beattie
Jay Wolpert
Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Music Klaus Badelt Hans Zimmer Hans Zimmer
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski


Box office performance

All Pirates of the Caribbean films were successful at the box office, with grosses of over $600 million, and all but Curse of the Black Pearl ranking among the fifty highest-grossing films of all time. Two of the films had earnings surpassing the $1-billion-mark, Dead Man's Chest and On Stranger Tides.[43]

Curse of the Black Pearl was 2003's third highest gross in North America (behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Finding Nemo) and fourth worldwide (behind Return of the King, Finding Nemo and The Matrix Reloaded).[44] Dead Man's Chest was the most successful film of 2006,[45] and At World's End led the worldwide grosses in 2007, though being only fourth in North America (behind Spider-Man 3, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Shrek the Third).[46] On Stranger Tides is the third highest-grossing film of 2011 (behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II and Transformers: Dark of the Moon) worldwide and the eighth highest of all time.[47] All of the sequels broke box office records upon release.[48][49][50]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget Reference
United States and Canada Other Countries Worldwide All time United States and Canada All time worldwide
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl July 9, 2003 $305,413,918 $348,850,097 $654,264,015 #34
#50 $140,000,000 [51]
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest July 7, 2006 $423,315,812 $642,863,913 $1,066,179,725 #8
#6 $225,000,000 [52]
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End May 24, 2007 $309,420,425 $654,000,000 $963,420,425 #31
#12 $300,000,000 [53]
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides May 20, 2011 $239,878,077 $798,500,000 $1,039,571,802 #73
#7 $150,000,000–
Total $1,278,028,232 $2,443,838,010 $3,721,006,165 $815,000,000–
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical reception

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Yahoo! Movies
Overall Cream of the Crop
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 78% (197 reviews)[56] 66% (38 reviews)[57] 63 (40 reviews)[58] B- (14 reviews)[59]
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest 54% (218 reviews)[60] 40% (40 reviews)[61] 53 (37 reviews)[62] B- (14 reviews)[63]
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End 45% (214 reviews)[64] 34% (41 reviews)[65] 50 (36 reviews)[66] C+ (15 reviews)[67]
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 33% (237 reviews)[68] 31% (38 reviews)[69] 45 (39 reviews)[70] C (11 reviews)[71]
Average Ratings 53% 42% 56% N/A


Academy Awards

Together, all the first three films were nominated for a total of 11 Academy Awards, of which a single award was won.

Award Film
The Curse of the Black Pearl Dead Man's Chest At World's End
Actor in a Leading Role Nomination
(Johnny Depp)
Art Direction-Set Decoration Nomination
Makeup Nomination Nomination
Sound Editing Nomination Nomination
Sound Mixing Nomination Nomination

Golden Globe Awards

Together, all the four films were nominated for a total of 2 Golden Globe Awards, of which none were won.

Award Film
The Curse of the Black Pearl Dead Man's Chest At World's End On Stranger Tides
Best Actor Nomination
(Johnny Depp)
(Johnny Depp)

MTV Movie Awards

Together, all the first three films were nominated for a total of 13 MTV Movie Awards, of which 4 were won.

Award Film
The Curse of the Black Pearl Dead Man's Chest At World's End
Best Movie Nomination Won Nomination
Best Male Performance Won
(Johnny Depp)
(Johnny Depp)
Best Female Performance Nomination
(Keira Knightley)
(Keira Knightley)
Best Breakthrough Female Performance Nomination
(Keira Knightley)
Best On-Screen Team Nomination
(Johnny Depp & Orlando Bloom)
Best Villain Nomination
(Geoffrey Rush)
(Bill Nighy)
Best Comedic Performance Nomination
(Johnny Depp)
(Johnny Depp)

Teen Choice Awards

Together, all the four films were nominated for a total of 25 Teen Choice Awards, of which 16 were won.

Award Film
The Curse of the Black Pearl Dead Man's Chest At World's End On Stranger Tides
Choice Movie Chemistry Won
(Orlando Bloom & Keira Knightley)
Choice Movie Fight/Action Sequence Won
(Johnny Depp & Orlando Bloom)
Choice Movie Liar Won
(Johnny Depp)
Choice Movie Liplock Won
(Orlando Bloom & Keira Knightley)
(Orlando Bloom & Keira Knightley)
Choice Breakout Movie Star – Female Nomination
(Keira Knightley)
Choice Movie Actor Won
(Johnny Depp)
(Johnny Depp)
(Johnny Depp)
(Orlando Bloom)
(Orlando Bloom)
Choice Summer Movie Won
Choice Breakout Movie Scream Won
(Keira Knightley)
Choice Movie Won Won Nomination
Choice Movie: Rumble Won
(Orlando Bloom & Jack Davenport)
(Orlando Bloom)
Choice Hissy Fit Won
(Keira Knightley)
Choice Movie Sleazebag Won
(Bill Nighy)
Choice Hottie Male Nomination
(Orlando Bloom)
Choice Movie Actress Nomination
(Keira Knightley)
(Keira Knightley)
(Penélope Cruz)
Choice Movie Villain Won
(Bill Nighy)
(Ian McShane)

Video and DVD releases

Only the first film was released on VHS in 2003. The first three films have been released on DVD. All three have been released on a 2-disc special edition and a single disc edition. The Curse of the Black Pearl has a 3-disc edition called The Lost Disc filled with more special features than the single disc and 2-disc release. A boxed set containing the first three films was released in 2007 featuring the single disc editions of the films. The films have all been released on Blu-ray.

The fourth film On Stranger Tides will be released on September 12, 2011 in the UK and October 18, 2011 in the United States. There will be a DVD, Blu-ray, 3D and digital copy combo release along with a single disc edition and a Blu-ray, DVD double combo.

A new box set containing all four films will be released alongside On Stranger Tides, which will be in the shape of Dead Man's Chest.


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