The box office belly-flop of “Mortdecai” has launched a number of “Is Johnny Depp’s Career Over?” think-pieces. The thinking is that after the combined failures of “The Lone Ranger,” “Transcendence,” and “Dark Shadows,” Depp’s career is now on the bubble, at a crossroads, in a dive…
Here are 5 reasons that is just not true:.
Johnny Depp has more talent in his right ear than 90% of today’s so-called stars have combined. Depp’s flops have nothing to do with anything other than Johnny Depp being Johnny Depp. He’s an eccentric; an actor always looking to stretch and do something different.
Basically, he’s a brilliant character actor who’s movie star handsome and unwilling to do anything routine. He’s always trying, always striving.
Except for “Transcendence,” each of these flops has been about hunting down another “Pirates” franchise that will allow him to remain a star and character actor.
Depp’s choices have been bad, no question. But he’s still the charismatic, likable, sympathetic Johnny Depp we’ve loved for three decades.
You can overcome bad choice by making better ones.
2. Depp is Only 51 Years-Old
And he looks 35. The man has a quarter-century of comebacks ahead of him.
3. Captain Jack Sparrow
Everyone writes about the fading box office for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. What they don’t tell you is that the last entry grossed more than a billion — with a “B” — worldwide.
“Pirates 4” is the 14th largest worldwide box office grosser of all time. For perspective, that puts this “fading franchise” almost $200 million ahead of “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” $100 million ahead of the second “Hobbit” movie, and behind only one “Harry Potter” film.
“Pirates 5” hits theatres in 2017.
4. The Mad Hatter
Depp doesn’t headline just one money-printing franchise, he headlines two.
In 2010, “Alice In Wonderland” grossed $1.025 billion — again with a “B” — worldwide (it ranks 17th) and $334 million domestic. This franchise is just getting started. Moreover, it is a Disney product and as of late, Disney’s publicity machine can do no wrong.
“Alice 2” arrives next summer.
5. Whitey Bulger
In “Black Mass” Depp stars as infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulger. His supporting team is made up of no less than Benedict Cumberbatch, Sienna Miller, Dakota Johnson, Joel Edgerton, and Kevin Bacon. The director is Scott Cooper, the man whose helming debut “Crazy Heart” won Jeff Bridges a long overdue Best Actor Oscar.
“Black Mass” arrives in September, and we all know how much Oscar loves a comeback narrative.
If there’s an actor out there who wouldn’t sell his soul for this kind of career trouble, he’s a liar.
Johnny Depp is going to be around for as long as he wants to be around.
Again, Depp’s made some awful choices lately, but at least he’s trying different things. He deserves credit for that, and there’s also no question his genius will eventually return lightning to that bottle.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC