"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" hardly marks an end.
With the latest in Walt Disney Co.'s lucrative series reaping an unprecedented $401 million globally in its debut through the Memorial Day weekend, the question of whether there will be a fourth installment has effectively been answered.
Sure, producer Jerry Bruckheimer is coy, saying he and his mates need a break. But he already has rights to a book that could end up as another installment.
Star Johnny Depp? He hasn't promised another voyage, but he clearly loves the flamboyant, irreverent Jack Sparrow character, telling one interviewer: "As long as you're doing it for the right reasons, why not?"
In today's Hollywood, blockbuster franchises function almost as independent corporations that, once up and running, can't easily be mothballed. Which is why another "Pirates" is pretty much a given.
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