LOS ANGELES – The last instalment of the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise failed to storm the box-office. One problem was that Johnny Depp, who had top billing playing Captain Jack Sparrow, reportedly received up to US$128 million (S$174 million) in the fifth edition, Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), Forbes noted.

The movie made US$245 million in the United States, according to Box Office Mojo.

Now Disney wants to cut losses, dropping Depp from a planned reboot of the series, and hiring Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to right the ship and chart a new course.

Presumably, that would call for someone who commands far less money than Depp to take on an anchor role.

Family-friendly Disney also is reportedly tired of the bad press surrounding Depp, whose former business managers had revealed that he spent lavishly.

Amber Heard, his former wife, had also accused him of domestic violence.

Meanwhile, Depp has filed a defamation lawsuit against British tabloid The Sun to prevent his reputation from sinking further.

It ran an April 2018 story that had questioned why Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling had not stopped the casting of the “wife-beater Depp” in a Fantastic Beasts film.

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