In order to meet the deadline for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End Disney had to bring in a number of different companies to work on the special effects, which contributed to the budget spiralling to $300 million. The film went on to make over $960 million worldwide so it was worth it in the end, but the huge budget ate into the profits, and with DVD sales down and marketing costs rising Disney are keen to make sure On Stranger Tides doesn’t end up costing more than it needs to.
From The L.A. Times:
Under new studio Chairman Rich Ross, Disney is tacking in a new direction, bringing more fiscal restraint to its movies.
Bruckheimer and the filmmakers are scrambling to meet the more constrained budget that Disney is imposing. Although it’s still large — north of $200 million — it is at least a third less than the last “Pirates” movie and includes far fewer shooting days and visual effects shots.
In discussing the script for the fourth “Pirates” film, screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio were told that Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow character would spend more time on land than water because of the high cost of shooting on the high seas.
To save more money, the number and selection of filming locations changed. Whereas the prior installments were shot in the Caribbean and Los Angeles, the upcoming production will be filmed primarily in Hawaii and London, where tax credits are more favorable. The number of shooting days scheduled is 90 to 95, down from 142 on the last movie. Similarly, there are expected to be 1,300 to 1,400 visual effects shots, compared with 2,000.
The filmmakers are also looking to shorten an elaborate carriage chase. As written, the scene in which the British pursue Jack Sparrow through the streets of London would require 12 shooting days, but it is being cut to four to six days.
I’m sure $200 million will be more than enough to make an entertaining Pirates of the Caribbean movie, we just won’t be seeing any extravagant scenes like the maelstrom ship battle at the end of Worlds End, which was almost entirely computer generated and involved ILM simulating 15 billion gallon of water.
I guess this cost cutting explains the casting of unknown actors and actresses over recent weeks. Joining Depp and Geoffrey Rush will be Ian McShane as Blackbeard, Penelope Cruz who plays his daughter, Stephen Graham as Scram, Astrid Berges-Frisbey as mermaid Syrena and Sam Claflin as “a youthful missionary”.
Filming will begin next month, and we will be seeing the much leaner fourth outing next May.