Those of you who get cranky every time you remember Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides exists may want to avert your eyes, because the next sentence will only upset you further. We already knew that Disney was planning for the fifth and sixth installments of the series, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer has announced that the screenplay is already in progress. Read more after the jump.

Little is known about the script at this point, but Bruckheimer told USA Today (via Cinematical) that On Stranger Tides and the as-yet-untitled fifth film will be standalone stories following Johnny Depp‘s weird, wonderful Captain Jack Sparrow through various adventures — unlike the first three films, which comprised a trilogy. At this point, I can barely even remember the plotlines for Dead Man’s Chest (a.k.a. Pirates of the Caribbean 2) or At World’s End (3), so I can’t say I’ll miss the continuity aspect much.

Says Bruckheimer:

[T]he audience told us what they loved about it is that it was fresh, it was new, it was a whole new story… So that will carry over into the next one, too, to give it something fresh and different. As long as the audience embraces this one, we’ll certainly try to make another one. It’s really up to Johnny. He loves the character.

According to Wikipedia, Pirates of the Caribbean is a multi-billion dollar franchise that includes video games, boardgames and novels. Not too shabby for a movie series based on a dingy old amusement park ride, eh? It may be annoying that Pirates 5 and Pirates 6 are already in progress, but it is in no way surprising.

Whether installments 4-6 will be able to recapture the magic of The Curse of the Black Pearl (the original, and by far the best) remains to be seen. I was among those who rolled my eyes when On Stranger Tides was announced, but we’ll find out whether my pessimism was warranted when the film opens May 20, 2011.

Discuss: Those of you who averted your eyes earlier may revert them now to complain about the needlessness of yet another Pirates film. Those of you who didn’t may now express your feelings about the direction of the franchise (that is, forward) in the comments.

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