Although grossed nearly five times its budget at the international box office, Keira Knightley thought the movie would fail, for a good reason. The first movie spawned the unexpectedly successful movies franchise. According to , the subsequent three films were among the Top 100 Lifetime Grosses for any movie. Knightley's initial concern over the film's status was warranted, a feeling she shared with fellow crew member Richard Curtis, the director of .
The recently aired ABC show celebrated the , wherein Curtis reminisced on a conversation he had with Knightley at the time of the film's production, "?'" Knightley replied, "." While Knightley's assumption was generally correct, the first film was aptly titled, as it broke a long-standing genre curse and dispelled a pirate movie trend.
Knightley also said to Curtis that pirate movies "Until , pirate films did have a checkered history, with the genre having been incredibly unsuccessful before the first film's release in 2003. Given their torrid box office performance and the largely negative critical response that most other pirate films experienced, it's unsurprising that there is an appetite for the . Although it would be compelling to see a refreshing iteration of seaside action-adventure on the silver screen, the genre hasn't passed the box office test with flying colors.
Pirate-themed movies were undoubtedly at their peak during the Golden Age of Hollywood, but interest waned until 2003, breaking a pirate movie trend. Errol Flynn's flicks like and captured audiences with swashbuckling staples like treasure and high-seas adventure, but the key to the success of these films was off-camera talent. Studios treated these early pirate movies , often hiring top-tier directors, composers, cinematographers, and writers to helm the pirate pictures. Despite the release of classics like and in the 1950s, the pirate genre had largely lost its allure by the decade's end.
Perhaps the most notorious example of this drastic dropoff in audience investment was 1995's , a film that lost over $80 million, the largest financial deficit for a film company ever at the time. Understandably, the genre remained relatively untouched until Disney tried their luck with , an animated sci-fi adaptation of that lost nearly $102 million domestically. Given the colossal losses that pirate movies had endured before the release of , Keira Knightley's thought that the first movie would fail was more than justified.