Hard times arrive for Disney as they got denied in court in their attempt for the dismissal of the lawsuit as regards the character of Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean. Allegedly, the studio stole the inspiration of the role played by Johnny Depp from a spec script.
In 2003, the Pirates of the Caribbean made its way to the big screens with the impeccable portrayal of Johnny Depp on the character of Jack Sparrow in The Curse of the Black Pearl. The franchise got four sequels until 2016 with Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End, On Stranger Tides, and Dead Men Tell No Tales. All the movies brought home a total of $4.5 billion in total.
However, by the end of the franchise, two writers A. Lee Alfred II and Ezequiel Martinez Jr. filed a case against Disney as regards the character of Jack Sparrow from a spec script they wrote sent to the studio by a producer to be the inspiration of the Johnny Depp role.
The case was dismissed in 2019 when District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall said that the similarities form part of a “largely unprotectable generic pirate fare.” The case was later revived when it was appealed on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals wherein it was held that there were so much in common that was released in the film, enough to warrant a case.
Martinez and Alfred filed an amended complaint and the same judge who dismissed the case denied the motion of Disney Studios for a summary judgment because what they provided conflicting expert testimonies. Summary judgments are proven on facts based on the depositions, or admissions given in court. It cannot have any conflicting testimonies.
This judgment is a complete blow on the attempt of Disney to have their backs off of the case. Should Disney lose the case, the writers would receive massive compensation as the character is their intellectual property. This could also halt the franchise since Disney still holds two sequels of the title in the works.