10 awesome facts about Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies

Surprising facts and secrets about Disney’s mega successful swashbuckling franchise.

Pirates of the Caribbean first hit the big screen way back in 2003 and it’s a movie series that has none of its magic. Starring Keira Knightley, Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom, Pirates of the Caribbean has reignited the pirate genre and delighted audiences of all ages around the world for over a decade.

To celebrate the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge in the BT TV Store we’ve rounded up ten swashbuckling facts about this epic movie franchise:

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1. It's based on a 1967 ride

Pirates of the Caribbean is based on the ride of the same name, which was first opened at Disneyland, Anaheim California in 1967. This is the last known ride that Walt Disney oversaw the concept and construction of, and there’s even an urban legend that his cryonic frozen corpse is secretly buried beneath.

Pirates of the Caribbean is an indoors boat ride with various drops and splashes, and the rider enjoys various scenes of 18th century pirates getting up to various no good shenanigans. This is all to the tune of several catchy pirate songs including “A pirate’s life for me.”

Pirates of the Caribbean

2. It's written by the same people as Aladdin

The first four Pirates of the Caribbean movies are written by the principal writers of Disney’s 1992 megahit Aladdin. Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio came up with the concept and original script for a pirates based adventure movie in the mid 90’s but it was repeatedly rejected. It was not until 2001 that Disney approached them about their script, and requested them to directly link it to the popular Disney ride.

3. Jack Sparrow is inspired by Burt Lancaster

Ted and Terry said they based the idea of Jack Sparrow on Burt Lancaster. Burt had played a likeable but arrogant young pirate in the 1952 movie The Crimson Pirate, which was released during one of the last Hollywood periods when pirate movies were in vogue.

However, when Johnny Depp was given the role, he interpreted Jack as being more of a rock star of the ocean and based him on The Rolling Stones star Keith Richards. Keith would even go on to star in the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie At World’s End as Jack’s father.

Pirates of the Caribbean

4. It was predicted to be a flop

When top Disney executives first watched Pirates of the Caribbean, several were confused and dismayed at Johnny’s performance and worried that the movie didn’t hold enough star power. At this point, Johnny was mainly renowned for his Indie movies and Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom were still on the up and coming. Initial reviewers also slated the film and argued that the pirate genre would never resurge.

5. It's one of the most profitable franchises ever

Of course with hindsight we know that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies have become one of the most successful movie franchises of all time – the 10th to be exact, having spawned five movies (and a planned sixth one) and grossing a total of over $4.5 billion worldwide.

6. There's multiple nods to the Disney ride

There are deliberately many nods to the original Disney ride throughout the movies. The talking parrot, Cotton’s Parrot, was used as a deliberate vehicle to include several lines from the ride.

Another scene in the first movie shows a group of imprisoned pirates trying to bribe a dog to pass them the keys, which is one of the famous pirate scenes depicted in the original ride.

This has also come full circle, as now each of the Pirates of the Caribbean rides around the world feature direct references to the movies, including a Captain Jack Sparrow and a Davy Jones.

Pirates of the Caribbean

7. Johnny Depp wore special contact lenses

Johnny wore special contact lenses in each of the Pirates movies that acted as sunglasses, allowing him to look directly at the sun in scenes without having to squint.

8. The main characters are inspired by birds

Each of the main three characters names are inspired by birds. There’s Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner (a famous English naturalist).

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9. Johnny added some improv

Johnny takes his role as Jack Sparrow very seriously. Not only was it his idea to channel Keith Richards and add extra lashings of waterproof eyeliner, he also added in some improv, such as coming up with the final line of the first movie – “Now, bring me that horizon.”

10. There's a hidden Mickey

As is the tradition in Disney movies, there’s a hidden Mickey Mouse head in the first movie. If you look closely during the night time battle scene of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl you’ll spot a cloud of Mickey Mouse smoke emerge after a cannon barrel fires into the night sky.

Look even closer next time you’re on a Pirates of the Caribbean ride and you may spot one of the many hidden Mickeys that have been sighted throughout the ride.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge – Bonus Edition is available to buy now in the BT TV Store and to rent from October 2.

The Pirates of the Caribbean Collection, featuring the first four films in the series, is also available to buy now in the BT TV Store.

Press the BT Player button on your remote control, scroll across to Film and browse now. Alternatively, press the blue button to search for the TV box set you want.

[Read more: Check out Try Before You Buy on BT TV Store]

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