Is Disney Making Jerry Bruckheimer Walk the Plank?

(Source Disney)

Following the flop of The Lone Ranger and a delay for the next Pirates of the Caribbean film, it’s safe the say the collboration between Disney (NYSE:DIS) and star producer Jerry Bruckheimer had hit a rough patch. Rumors over strains in the realtionship became reality Thursday when Disney announced it would not offer a new deal to Bruckheimer after their contract expires next year, according to the L.A. Times.

Disney spokespeople released a statement saying Bruckheimer and the company’s studio heads would not renew their deal, which gave Disney priority on the producer’s films and is set to expire at 2014′s end. Recent news indicating their marriage was troubled surrounded two Johnny Depp films that Bruckheimer produced.

Depp, who famously starred as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, was also co-star in The Lone Ranger, a film that flopped this summer and may cost Disney more than $160 million in losses. Disney executives appear headed in a direction that would include fewer gambles and a heavier reliance on the franchise winners known to produce. Bruckheimer will stick to more adult films.

In the case of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, success is all but assured. News that the production of the next Pirates film would be delayed put both Depp blockbusters into question. Yet, it appears Bruckheimer and Disney will continue to collaborate on this franchise depsite any recent setbacks.

“We will continue working together on Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure, and other projects we have developed together at the studio,” Bruckheimer said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. Disney also had nothing but good things to say about the producer that earned the company billions over the ocurse of their collaboration. ”We will continue to work together in the future, and we look forward to seeing more of the films that have made Jerry Bruckheimer a Hollywood legend,” said Disney Studios Chair Alan Horn in a statement, according to the L.A. Times.

All told, it appears the collaboration had run its course, though they will reunite to make the big films. Disney will simply avoid taking risks on unproven tentpoles. With Pirates, the chance for success is too great to ignore.

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