LOS ANGELES (TheWrap) - Johnny Depp is close to a deal to star in a fifth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, a source close to negotiations told TheWrap.
The development is probably not too surprising since the actor has earned close to $350 million from the Disney franchise, according to the source, making him the highest-paid actor in recent Hollywood history.
Depp is paid a percentage of the movies' gross profits after the studio breaks even on its production cost and marketing expenses. The four "Pirates" films have grossed about $3.7 billion at the worldwide box office alone. Additionally, the first three have earned hundreds of millions of dollars in DVD, cable TV and other backend revenues.
The fourth film, "On Stranger Tides," has just passed the $1 billion mark at the box office.
On its most recent list of top-earning actors, Forbes magazine estimated that Depp made $75 million between June 2009 and June 2010.
Depp's agent, Tracey Jacobs at United Talent Agency, declined to comment on her client's earnings or the talks for the fifth film. A spokesman for Walt Disney Studios did not respond to requests for comment.
In May, producer Jerry Bruckheimer said he was working on a fifth "Pirates" script -- and that he wouldn't make the movie without Depp. The actor is key to the success of the Disney franchise: Without his swashbuckling character, Capt. Jack Sparrow, there's no "Pirates."
Depp has been driving huge box office success for Disney for close to a decade. In addition to Sparrow, he played the Mad Hatter in the studio's 2010 "Alice in Wonderland," which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. And he's set to star as Tonto for the studio in next year's "The Lone Ranger."
His other recent credits include the thriller "The Tourist," which co-starred Angelina Jolie. The $100 million film bombed Stateside, grossing just $67.6 million. But Depp's strong international appeal helped salvage the movie, which made $210.7 million abroad.
Depp also voice-starred in the computer-animated "Rango," which took in $242.6 million worldwide after costing about $135 million to make.
(Edited by Dean Gooodman)