Disney Scaling Back Fourth Pirates of the Caribbean

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The Los Angeles Times has published an interesting article talking about how Walt Disney Pictures is trying to keep the budget for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides under control. Here are some excerpts from the article. There is also a spoiler below, but we’ll be giving you plenty of warning before you get to it…

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.

As preproduction gets underway in Hawaii, Marshall and Bruckheimer are going through the script line by line looking for more places to trim costs.

Gone is one shooting location four hours north of London that would have required an overnight stay for the cast and crew. Instead, filming in London will save $3 million to $4 million.

Here it is, the spoiler you may not want to know in advance. If you don’t want to know anything about specific scenes in the movie, we suggest you turn back now…

Still here? Here goes…

An “ice fair,” in which jugglers and carnival acts would perform on a frozen River Thames, was excised too.

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.

Directed by Rob Marshall, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is scheduled to hit theaters on May 20, 2011.

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