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Inside Move: Back-to-back ‘Pirates’ pix?

Swashbuckler may follow 'Matrix,' 'Rings' path

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” the second film this year to gross $300 million in domestic box office, may earn a distinction that’s even more uncommon: back-to-back sequels shot in one simultaneous production.

It’s an ambitious feat, attempted twice in recent years with immense success: Warners’ dual “Matrix” sequels, which required more than 200 consecutive shooting days in Sydney in 2001 and 2002, and New Line’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, produced in one fell swoop in New Zealand.

Other studio have toyed with the idea of mounting back-to-back sequels but found it too risky.

“Pirates” producer Jerry Bruckheimer said it’s too soon to discuss such plans. Helmer Gore Verbinski has agreed to direct the “Pirates” sequel, and Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott are onboard to pen the script, but it’s not finished.

Disney has commitments from key talent — Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley — to appear in “Pirates 2.” Bruckheimer said there’s still no start date.

But sources close to the film say they are pondering the possibility of back-to-back sequels, and negotiations have begun to secure the cast should the studio pursue that avenue.

Disney has a powerful incentive to invest deeply in the franchise. “Pirates” is a homegrown property, based on a popular theme park ride at Disneyland.

No word yet on the title. “Pirates: Reloaded?”

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