Eager to keep the money train going—and to keep costs down—Disney is planning to shoot Pirates 5 and 6 as one big film, just as they did with Dead Man's Chest and At World's End.
Shooting multiple films in one big production surge is nothing new: Back to the Future parts 2 and 3 were shot that way, as were The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions; while the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy followed suit. The reasoning is simple: It's cheaper to keep a film going than it is to start one. It's like financial inertia—a production in motion tends to stay in motion, while a production at rest has to be injected with Red Bull and bagels, flown halfway around the world and cattle-prodded to get off its bum.
So it's no wonder that, as Hitfix is reporting, Disney has been telling the cast and crew of director Rob Marshall's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides to set aside a big chunk of time in the near future to shoot 5 and 6 together. When that time will be is unclear, as Depp is committed to film both Tim Burton's Dark Shadows and Gore Verbinski's Lone Ranger reboot in 2011.