In December, Disney quietly indicated that the next Pirates Of The Caribbean movie would not feature series star Johnny Depp, with Deadpool writing team Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick coming on board to the give the unnecessarily long-running series “a kick in the pants.” The most recent film in the series, 2017's Dead Men Tell No Tales, made a shitload of money worldwide but set a new low bar for the series in the states, which is a problem when a movie costs $230 million to make. Unsurprisingly a good chunk of that money went straight into Johnny Depp’s gross, sequined pockets, and according to Forbes, Disney will save a reported $90 million just by leaving Depp back on the shore for the next movie (since that’s apparently his per-Pirate fee).
Forbes seems to be concerned that this is a bad idea, as Depp can still “rake in the lucre” (which is arguable), but the larger issue with Depp is something that Forbes glosses over as “some personal problems” that have—hopefully—made him a bit toxic in Hollywood. Today, The Hollywood Reporter has published a story on some court documents it has obtained regarding allegations that Depp abused ex-wife Amber Heard, including this quote from Heard that she gave during a deposition: “Johnny and I refer to his other personality, the part of him that is present when he beats me up—we call that the monster and have called [that] the monster for many years.”
In the documents, Heard also describes one night in 2016 where Depp allegedly threw a phone at Heard’s head “as hard as he could.” A neighbor responded to Heard calling for help and said in court that she saw Depp swinging around a bottle of wine and smashing things with it. Heard didn’t file a police report, saying her lawyers had advised against it, and Depp described the situation completely differently in his own statements, saying that he had gently tossed the phone in question onto a couch and that it was actually Heard who injured herself by smashing things. The divorce was finalized in 2016, with Heard donating her entire $7 million settlement to charity and both sides releasing a joint statement that essentially said nobody made “false accusations” and that neither of them ever intended to physically abuse the other.
So, by leaving Depp out of the next Pirates movie, Disney can avoid being associated with all of that and avoid paying him $90 million—a deal that the team behind The Crimes Of Grindelwald apparently didn’t consider.