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'Pirates of the Caribbean'
Movies: "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (2003), "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" (2006), "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (2007), "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" (2011)
Upcoming movies: "Pirates of the Caribbean 5" (TBD)
Why: The first "Pirates" movie wasn't mind-blowing, but Johnny Depp turned Disney upside down by helping create the iconic character Captain Jack Sparrow. He even earned an Oscar nomination for the role. The love of Sparrow was so strong it was enough to endear audiences and critics through the bloated "Dead Man's Chest" and "we still have no idea what happened" storyline of "At World's End." Then Rob Marshall and Penelope Cruz joined the crew in "On Stranger Tides" and even Depp's now inevitable shtick couldn't hold up anymore. Unfortunately, "Tides" made over $1 billion and after a couple of misfires Depp is more than happy to slip on Jack's boots once more. The directors of the critically acclaimed "Kon-Tiki" are taking over for this new installment, but at this point we'd also just love to live with the happy memories of the first 1 1/2 movies.
- Gregory Ellwood