Did Disney pick a bad time to promote Johnny Depp’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides?’


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On the surface it must have made a lot of sense to pair the release of these new ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ images with the release of ‘The Tourist.’ Johnny Depp has been relatively available on the talk-show circuit promoting his new Angelina Jolie thriller, and so Disney must have figured this was as good a time as any to remind people about the star’s spring fourquel.

It’s a reasonable strategy, but it may well backfire. The reviews for ‘Tourist’ have been so atrocious -- here’s The Times Kenneth Turan, calling it ‘a not particularly thrilling lacking in pace, involvement and excitement;’ Todd McCarthy at the Hollywood Reporter had this memorably vitriolic take -- that ‘Pirates’ almost looks bad by association. Far from piggybacking on goodwill for Depp, the images of a Jack Sparrow character that the actor could do in his sleep looks more likely to become part of a larger what-is-Johnny-Depp-doing conversation.


Maybe Disney felt that the negative vibes around ‘Tourist’ could actually help its movie, throwing into relief how beloved the actor was in other surroundings. But that would only work if the studio were releasing images for something new and exciting, and a fourth ‘Pirates’ movie is neither of those things.

Depp was once the most promising actor of his generation. He’s still arguably the most talented, but he’s choosing an odd way to show it lately, what with these action spectacles that feel shopworn, or Tim Burton pairings that aren’t much more inspired. That’s an issue no amount of savvy marketing can solve -- only Depp himself.

--Steven Zeitchik


Hero Complex: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides first look photos

Movie review: The Tourist