My Jaw is on the floor and I’m feeling a little light headed. There is a report out right now that Johnny Depp has agreed in principle to do a Pirates of the Caribbean 4, and that his pay cheque for the film will come in at about $75 million dollars. Let me repeat that. Johnny Depp is reportedly going to be pulling in about $75 million (pretty much double the highest contract pay day I’ve ever heard of. $75 million for one actor. More money than 90% of movies even make in total at the box office… they’re going to give one guy. Remind me to spit in the face of any MPAA guy I ever hear whine or bitch about hard financial times in Hollywood or how Piracy is sinking them.
Personally, I don’t even want a Pirates of the Caribbean 4. The first film was nothing short of magical for me. I absolutely loved that damn movie. However, each sequel has gotten progressively worse and worse culminating in Pirates 3 which was an absolute abysmal waste of a movie and would probably be on my Top 10 Worst Sequels of all time list. I don’t want to see them further ruin the franchise with another money grab.
But lets talk Depp for a moment. Should any human being get paid $75 million for 3 months work? And when I use the word “work”, I use it lightly (not slighting the work actors have to do… but if I had to choose to either spend 3 months doing the heavy work of an actor or doing 3 months doing the heavy work of a road construction guy… I’d pick the actor’s life). This dollar figure is insane.
Now let me play devil’s advocate for a moment. An argument can be made that Johnny Depp is the face of the Pirates franchise, and while I maintain that ANY actor is replaceable… this is one of those situations where it would be VERY difficult to do so. Depp is synonymous with Captain Jack Sparrow. And no matter how bad the 3rd Pirates film was, it still made HUGE amounts of money, money that a 4th Pirates film could probably duplicate, BUT NOT WITHOUT DEPP.
With Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean 4, you can pretty much bank on it making at least $300 and possibly as much as $450 million. Without Depp you’re looking at $100 million tops. So it could be argued that investing $75 million in Depp for the film makes financial sense. But it still feels all sorts of wrong.
It’s unlikely that either Orlando Bloom or Kiera Knightly will return, which is a good thing. Focus Pirates 4 on Sparrow and Barbossa fighting it out over something and you’ll have my attention.