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Even Jerry Bruckheimer must tighten his belt; 'Pirates of the Caribbean' put on leaner budget

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Image Credit: Peter MountainAdmittedly, this is not one of those tragic cases of storied newspapers losing a third of their staff as budget cuts decimate newsrooms nationwide. But the L.A. Times reports that out of respect for these strapped economic times, Disney is ordering megawatt producer Jerry Bruckheimer to scale down his vision for the fourth sequel in their multi-billion dollar franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which is slated for a 2011 release. With shooting scheduled to kick off on June 14, Bruckheimer is reportedly taking cost-cutting measures: The producer is moving production from the Caribbean and L.A. to tax-credit friendly locations in Hawaii and London, slashing five days from the shooting schedule, and limiting the amount of scenes featuring Jack Sparrow at sea. Land, ho! Director Rob Marshall (Nine) told the Times, “We’re all working hard to keep it as lean as possible,” he said, while noting that the upwards of $200 million budget was still the most money he’d ever been given to make a film.

What do you think of this news, PopWatchers? Is Johnny Depp every bit as inviting on land as he is at sea? Is there something almost reassuring about the notion of Hollywood heavyweights scaling down on budget inflation when it comes to their bloated big-noise franchises? I say Bruckheimer ought to save the money on those often loud and obnoxious visual effects shots and spend those freed-up five days of shooting burrowing into what audiences really want: a clever and snappy script.

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