New 'Pirates of the Caribbean' trailer: Can film turn the franchise around?

The upcoming 'Pirates' film features the return of franchise actors such as Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Geoffrey Rush. The movies' domestic box office grosses have declined since the second film. 

A new trailer has been released for the newest “Pirates of the Caribbean” film, part of a franchise that may be in need of a restart, at least in the US.

The upcoming “Pirates” film, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” is set to be released in May 2017. It is the fifth movie in the series and features the return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, Orlando Bloom as his friend Will Turner, and Geoffrey Rush as his rival, Captain Barbossa, as well as the addition of actors including Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, and Kaya Scodelario. 

Mr. Depp and Mr. Rush have appeared in every “Pirates” film, while Mr. Bloom sat out the fourth installment. Actress Keira Knightley starred in the first three movies but has not appeared in the more recent ones. 

The “Pirates” series launched with the 2003 movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” which became a huge hit. Depp’s performance as Jack Sparrow was so well-received that he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, a rarity for the film's genre.

However, the domestic box office success for the series peaked with the series’ second installment, 2006’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.” And none of the subsequent movies have been as well-received as the first, with critical response steadily declining as the series has gone on. 

Financially, however, the films perform well overseas (the fourth movie, "On Stranger Tides," grossed more than the third film overall when international grosses are taken into account), and the domestic gross of the most recent one, for example, is still good – 2011’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” became the fifth-highest-grossing film of the year. These factors may account for the continuing of the franchise. 

The trailer for the fifth film shows Mr. Thwaites’ character being asked to find Jack Sparrow by Mr. Bardem’s character, Captain Salazar.

While “Pirates” is likely his signature franchise, Depp has recently had a lot of trouble at the box office. His 2015 movie “Black Mass,” in which he portrayed James “Whitey” Bulger, was mostly well-reviewed. But when it comes to blockbuster hopefuls, recent films like this spring’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “Mortdecai,” “Transcendence,” and “The Lone Ranger,” to name only several, have struggled financially. (2014’s “Into the Woods” became a box office hit, but Depp only had a small appearance in the film.) 

“Depp’s reign, which lasted for much of the early aughts, could be nearing its end,” Variety writer Brent Lang wrote earlier this year, following the failure of “Alice.”

“Depp will also have to prove that he still has what it takes to astound audiences – not because of his off-screen antics or bizarre costume choices, but with the intensity of his talent,” Mr. Lang wrote. “That won’t be satisfied with another stint as Capt. Jack Sparrow.” 

Meanwhile, an unnamed box office analyst told the Hollywood Reporter, following “Alice” struggling at the box office, “If I'm Disney and ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ is a flop, I'm probably a little nervous about ‘Pirates 5.’”

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