Sometimes movie franchises can face an end due to problems with a star from the franchise. Media companies face a tough challenge of re-casting the role or moving on from the franchise. One massive movie star could be helping a media company move on from two different stars for two massive franchises.
What Happened: Former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has become one of the biggest movie stars in the world.
Movie studios have moved on from Johnny Depp due to a very public, messy legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard. The Fantastic Beasts franchise from Warner Bros. Discovery WBD replaced Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. The Walt Disney Company DIS appears poised to do the same.
Depp is well-known as the face of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but it appears that could be an item of the past. Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer has confirmed that a script for the franchise will see Margot Robbie in a lead role.
Another report from Giant Freakin’ Robot said that multiple spinoffs of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise are in the works, according to Bruckheimer, one with Robbie and one starring Johnson.
“It has already been announced by Jerry Bruckheimer that two spinoffs are in the works. One will see Margot Robbie take the lead of the franchise. The other is currently a mystery for now. However, based on our trusted and proved source, we can report that a third spinoff is in the works. This third Pirates spinoff will star Dwayne Johnson,” the report said, as reported by Inside the Magic.
The repot indicates that Johnson won’t be taking over the iconic Jack Sparrow character that Depp portrayed, but instead a new role.
Other rumors indicate that Johnson could also be joining another Disney franchise to replace a star. Reports say that Johnson could replace Will Smith in the role of the Genie in the “Aladdin” franchise for Disney.
The fallout from Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars has led to several media companies putting movies on the back burner that were set to star Smith. The reports indicate that Disney could be ready to move on from Smith.
Why It’s Important: First featured in the 2001 movie “The Mummy Returns,” Johnson has gone on to star in some huge franchises for several different media companies. Johnson is featured in the Fast and Furious franchise for Universal Pictures, a Comcast Corp CMCSA company and the Jumanji franchise for Sony Group Corp SONY.
Johnson is also set to star in “Black Adam” later in 2022, which puts the star in the DC Comics movie universe, a rival to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While Johnson has starred for other studios, he also has been important in several Disney movies. Johnson voiced Maui in the animated hit “Moana” and also starred in the Disney movie “Jungle Cruise” in 2021. Johnson also previously starred in movies including “The Gameplan” and “Race to Witch Mountain” for Disney.
The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is lucrative for Disney, with over $1.5 billion in domestic box office gross and the basis of a ride at its theme parks. If the company is moving on from Depp, bringing Robbie and Johnson into the fold could help increase awareness and demand and bring the franchise back to life.
The most recent movie in the franchise, the 2017 release “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” was the lowest grossing domestic release of the five films, with $172.6 million at North American theaters.
Johnson’s roles in the Fast and Furious and Jumanji franchises have shown that he can carry or help boost the star power of a franchise.
DIS Price Action: Disney shares are trading flat at $108.88 on Tuesday versus a 52-week range of $99.47 to $187.57, according to Benzinga Pro.
Photo by Dian Li via Wikimedia.
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