Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the Rob Marshall-directed fourth outing in Disney's theme park ride-spawned film franchise, came out less than two weeks ago, but it's doing quite well. Possibly better. Depends on what your definition of a $640 million box office take in less than two weeks is. For me, "quite well" fits the bill.
With that kind of money coming in, a sequel is guaranteed. It already pretty much was anyway, as Disney asked for a script from series scribe Terry Rossio earlier this year. Even if that hadn't happened, though, earning more than half a billion dollars in less than two weeks certainly would have clinched it. An offer is reportedly already out for Rob Marshall to come back and direct, but he may not given the lackluster critical response On Stranger Tides has seen.
The word is, Disney is already making preparations for that, weighing now a few other potential directors. Unnamed "reliable sources" speaking to Cinema Blend reveal that Tim Burton is at the top of the list, for reasons that should be blindingly obvious to anyone familiar with his and star Johnny Depp's long history together. Also rumored to be on the shortlist are Alfonso Cuaron, Shawn Levy, Sam Raimi and Chris Weitz.
As one of the critics who didn't hate the new Pirates but saw some deeply ingrained flaws, I think the bigger concern at this point should be finding a story that works. Tides had some serious issues on that front, especially with a subplot involving a mermaid and a tortured preacher man.
That said, I don't see Burton taking this gig. Same for Raimi. Neither is the sort of director that would step into a series at this late hour. They don't need to jump on work like that. Better opportunities exist for these guys, some of which spring directly from their own heads. Cuaron, Levy and Weitz aren't exactly hacks either, but whoever steps in ought to first take a close look at the story and make sure there's something to it. As long as we keep throwing money at a franchise, its studio will keep pushing for sequels.