The prolific producer will begin meeting with Disney studio chief Alan Horn next month over a new deal to replace a current first look pact that expires in spring 2014, Variety has learned.
Bruckheimer has several films in development at Disney, including a fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean,” that was recently pulled from the summer 2015 release schedule in order to improve the script, and a third “National Treasure,” among other projects. Bruckheimer also has a close relationship with Johnny Depp, with the two launching the “Pirates” franchise together, which has gone on to earn more than $5.4 billion worldwide for Disney.
Overall, Bruckheimer’s films have earned more than $3.4 billion for Disney domestically alone.
But Disney is a different studio these days from when it turned to Bruckheimer to supply many of its bigger hits through the Touchstone banner, including “Armageddon,” “Enemy of the State,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Con Air.”
Today, Disney is relying more on tentpoles from Marvel, Pixar and now Lucasfilm, whose seventh “Star Wars” will be released by Disney in 2015, along with Disney branded live action and animated films.
And Bruckheimer’s films aren’t as successful as they once were, with “Lone Ranger,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” and “G-Force” all pricey stumbles at the worldwide box office.
A new deal would involve reigning in escalating budgets on high-profile tentpole pics and putting a cap on the next “Pirates,” the way Disney stopped production on “Lone Ranger” to reduce the cost of the Western. Should a new first look pact be brokered, Bruckheimer’s overhead deal isn’t expected to change, however.
While Disney’s Horn and production president Sean Bailey speak highly of Bruckheimer, calling their relationship with him “a real partnership,” the producer has other options.
Bruckheimer has another “Bad Boys” in development at Sony, where he made “Black Hawk Down,” and Sony’s Screen Gems will release his Eric Bana thriller “Beware the Night.” He also is developing a “Top Gun” sequel at Paramount and is likely to come aboard the studio’s next “Beverly Hills Cop” film.