Why “Pirates of the Caribbean” couldn’t fall in love with this genre again


Although the Pirates of the Caribbean films were a huge success, there is a reason why the series did not become an incentive for the subsequent revival of the dashing adventure films subgenre. The pirate adventure subgenre was once one of the most flourishing institutions of cinema. From the 1920s to the 1960s, reckless films such as “Sinbad the Navigator”, “Treasure Island” and “The Crimson Pirate” delighted the audience and became huge box office hits, until in the 60s the popularity of this genre of historical adventure stories faded into the background. the genre has never recovered from it.

Since then, this kind of historical adventure thrillers have been losing popularity with viewers, and pirated films have often turned out to be major failures. However, there is one significant exception to this general rule. Johnny Depp’s huge fee for the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean 6” proves that the Disney monster is one of the most popular and profitable franchises in the history of cinema.

Since “The Curse of the Black Pearl” became a huge hit in 2003, the Pirates of the Caribbean series has become one of the most profitable franchises in the history of cinema. Even though his most relatively disappointing project has earned over $700 million, the franchise is a huge financial success. However, despite this, the success of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films has not led to the revival of the pirate adventure subgenre in a broader sense. The reasons for this are numerous and complex, and they are inextricably linked to the history of pirate films as a special subgenre, the historical genre of action adventure in a broader sense, and the difficulties associated with reproducing the unique formula of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. .

Pirated movies often fail (badly)

From 1986’s “Pirates,” to 1995’s costly failure “Thug Island,” and even to 2015’s “Peter Pan,” retelling Pan, pirate adventure films have a terrible tendency to become incredibly costly flops. Although this subgenre was popular in the early years of Hollywood, since then, dashing adventure films have largely been supplanted by serial-style action-adventure films such as Indiana Jones and its imitators. Although at first glance these two subgenres may seem interchangeable, there are several significant logistical differences that make the latter more attractive to studios. Firstly, action-adventure films such as the Mummy and Indiana Jones franchises tend to take place in the recent past, which means that the required costumes, makeup and scenery are not so complicated. On the other hand, regular pirate movies require a lot of filming on the water, which, as the infamous Mad Max fake “Waterworld” proved, can be expensive stupidity. However, the decline in the popularity of pirate films began long before the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise appeared, and other elements also played a role in the fact that the franchise was unable to revive the craze.

“Pirates of the Caribbean” followed the trend of a historical action movie

The success of films such as The Mummy and The Tomb Raider series proves that the subgenre of historical action films flourished during the release of The Curse of the Black Pearl. However, the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” was not the beginning, but the end of this trend. “The Mummy” was a huge success in 1999, and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” was a success (at least financially) in 2001. The success of the “Mummy” franchise and Lara Croft did not appear in the cinema after the critical disaster of 2003 “Cradle of Life”. Not only that, but the costly misfires of Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas simultaneously proved that animated historical adventures are no more reliable when it comes to profit than their live counterparts.

Pirates of the Caribbean revived the adventure genre (briefly)

Films like 2005’s “Sahara” and 2004’s “Van Helsing” probably wouldn’t have been so popular without the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, but the fact that these films were not effective enough critically and commercially proves that the historical formula of an action adventure is not good. a long revival. Despite the fact that in 2007 “Pirates of the Caribbean: At the End of the World” the series continues to set world box office records, attempts by studios to update the franchise formula or borrow elements from it proved fruitless. Van Helsing was too focused on horror to work as a big summer blockbuster, a tonal problem that wasn’t helped by the surprisingly tragic ending of the Breezy movie. Meanwhile, Sahara’s attempts to make a modern version of Pirates of the Caribbean proved that the historical setting was part of what made the franchise attractive to viewers, and the 2005 misfire even chose the original Jack Sparrow candidate Matthew McConaughey as its charming antihero.


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