The Most Expensive Movie Ever Made

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By the time Jack Sparrow sailed away on a small dinghy to follow the map for the Fountain of Youth, roughly $300 million had been spent to create the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Yes, $300 million were used to follow the new adventures and misadventures of Captain Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner in the third installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

And to think that the producers probably got to save some money, as the movie was shot back-to-back with the series’ second installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.  Critics gave mixed reviews, with some questioning the movie’s ridiculously convoluted story, but a billion dollars in ticket sales, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End certainly got all the approval they would ever need.

Basic Plot

The East India Trading Company, led by Cutler Beckett and Davy Jones, begins executing pirates in an attempt to completely eliminate them, thus gaining control of the seas and all its trading routes. In order to save the way of life of the pirates, the nine Pirate Lords of the Brethren Court must unite and come together to oppose the Trading Company and put up one final stand. Captured pirates awaiting execution all began to sing Hoist the Colours, with its final line stubbornly proclaiming, “Never shall we die” in order to alert the nine Pirate Lords to meet at Shipwreck Cove.

Unfortunately, the Pirate Lord of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow, is imprisoned in Davy Jones’ locker. He also has not appointed a successor, having passed on his piece of eight to a young cabin boy. The crew of The Black Pearl, along with Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, thus embarked on a mission to rescue Sparrow.

Several adventures and treachery followed, highlighted by the betrayal of the Pirate Lord of the South China Sea, Sao Feng. But when Jones attacked Feng, the South China Sea Pirate Lord was able to appoint Elizabeth as his successor.

This proved crucial, as during the meeting of the Pirate Lords, it was revealed that only the Pirate King has the authority to declare war. No Pirate King has been appointed since the first court, however, because all the Pirate Lords would always selfishly vote for themselves. The tie was finally broken when Sparrow decided to vote for Elizabeth, who promptly voted for war against the Trading Company.

Events that followed showed Davy Jones being killed and Will gaining control of The Flying Dutchman. With the alliance of The Flying Dutchman and The Black Pearl complete, even the Trading Company’s lead ship, the Endeavour, and its entire armada proved to be a mismatch.

As the new captain of The Flying Dutchman, Will is now bounded to ferry the dead, and he can only return every 10 years to see his wife, Elizabeth. Barbossa, on the other hand, commandeered the Black Pearl and attempted to use it to search for the Fountain of Youth. Sparrow, however, was one step ahead once again, as he had already cut off the pertinent portion of the map, which he will use in his own quest for the said Fountain of Youth.

The story is as complicated as it could be. As its very own Captain Jack Sparrow said, “Up is down. Well, that is just maddeningly unhelpful. Why are these things never clear?’

Movie Production

All the main stars from the first two installments were back, with Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush all reprising their roles. To save on production costs, this installment was shot back-to-back with the second movie of the series; thus, all the scenes in the Caribbean were already shot as early as 2005.

Location shootings were done in Singapore, Niagara Falls and Palmdale, California. The scenes involving Davy Jones’ Locker were shot at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Filming ended in December of 2006 in Molokai in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Publicity Campaign

The third installment had huge expectations after the tremendous success of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. The trailer was first shown during a fan event that was highlighted by a special screening of part one of the movie entitled Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The rest of the general public had its first taste of the trailer during a break on the hit show Dancing with the Stars. It was then released online to allow viewers to see it on demand.

To further promote the movie, action figures created by NECA were also created. The producers also released a specially made collector’s edition chess set, as well as a monopoly version of the movie and a dice game called Liar’s Dice. There were also replicas of the Dead Man’s Chest and of the various jewelries worn by the pirates in the movie. Sculptures of the popular characters were also sold.

To create a buzz with the younger audience, a video game was created and made available on all the major gaming formats, namely Sony’s Playstations 2 and 3 and PSP, Nintendo’s Wii and DS and Microsoft’s Xbox 360. A soundtrack to the movie was also released, featuring the original pirate song Hoist the Colours.

Movie Reception

The movie opened in 11,500 screens, which is still the all-time record. It also still holds the record for the best Memorial Day four-day weekend record. All in all, it earned $309,420,425 in the United States and Canada, and $654 million for the rest of the world. The total gross of the movie, therefore, amounted to $963,420,425, making Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End the 14th highest grossing movie of all time.

This number, however, pales in comparison to the total earnings of part two of the series. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest had earned almost a hundred million dollars more than the third installment. Still, the producers were able to heave a sigh of relief that they were able to more than recoup all their investment in the movie.

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The Most Expensive Movie Ever Made