“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides“ won’t hoist its sails at theaters until next summer but Disney has a lot riding on its flagship film franchise. The first trailer for the film will premiere on Dec. 13 with a promotional event in Anaheim that will bring lucky fans in for a 3-D screening of the trailer at Downtown Disney, special admission to the Disneyland theme park, an after-party and commemorative prizes.
The event promoting the fourth film in “Pirates” franchise will be announced Wednesday morning — Southern California residents will be able to tune in to KIIS-FM (102.7) to hear the news, but fans anywhere can enter to win a vacation for four to the event by “liking” Yahoo! Movies on Facebook or entering the sweepstakes via Disney Movie Rewards.
Will any of the stars be on hand? Disney sources are cryptic on that question but Johnny Depp has been a good soldier (and a good sport) when it comes to waving the flag at splashy promotional events and reaching out to fans who adore the character Jack Sparrow and his fey and besotted brand of cinematic swashbuckling.
Here’s what Disney will announce: After the early-morning screening of the trailer at AMC’s Downtown Disney District 12, the winning fans will be ushered into Disneyland for a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean and an after-party with prizes — and there will be “additional opportunities” for fans who arrive dressed as pirates. There will also be an oath ceremony where the fans will be sworn in on the bow of the park’s 110-foot sailing ship, the Columbia.
The “Pirates” franchise has pulled in $2.7 billion in worldwide box office since the first film became a surprise sensation in 2003, and the brand has translated into robust returns in the world of video games, toys and home video as well. The property’s luster, though, wore off considerably with the third film, 2007′s “At World’s End,” which was jeered by many critics. There’s a new director on board for this fourth film — Rob Marshall, who was Oscar-nominated for “Chicago” — and the returning crew of Depp and Geoffrey Rush are joined by Penelope Cruz, who plays an old flame of Sparrow’s with slippery motives, and Ian McShane (“Deadwood“) in the role of the fearsome pirate legend Blackbeard.
More than a few fans will be surprised to see the franchise back for more, though a strong trailer might help turn that skepticism into nostalgia. If the new material doesn’t have that old Sparrow spark, though, this installment could sink like an anchor.
– Geoff Boucher
RECENT AND RELATED