Happy 8th anniversary to Captain Jack Sparrow and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL!

Believe it or not, it was exactly eight years ago today that Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl opened in movie theaters across North America, and the public got its first glimpse of Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow. Critics were predisposed to sneer at a movie inspired by a theme-park ride — was there even one review that failed to highlight that fact, or to mention that the pirate movie was a dead genre? — but ecstatic word-of-mouth soon made the pundits and past history irrelevant. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl eventually claimed box-office booty of $654 million worldwide, lodged its colorful characters permanently in the popular imagination, and launched three fantastically successful sequels, the latest of which, On Stranger Tides, just notched $1 billion at the box office. Now Captain Jack Sparrow’s boast is true around the world: everyone has heard of him. Huzzah!

Johnny Depp’s performance in The Curse of the Black Pearl earned him an Oscar nomination and a SAG Award as Best Actor. “His performance is original in its every atom,” wrote Roger Ebert in his review. “There has never been a pirate, or for that matter a human being, like this in any other movie.” Critic Emmanuel Levy has called Captain Jack Sparrow “the only iconic screen character to have yet emerged in the new millenium.”

The Zone congratulates all of the dedicated artists who worked on Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; you have given us more hours of pleasure and pure entertainment than we could possibly count. Many thanks to Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski, writers Terry Rossio & Ted Elliott, and those executives at Disney who decided not to fire Johnny Depp. And thanks, above all, to Johnny Depp himself . . . the best pirate we’ve ever seen.

We’re celebrating! It’s the Zone’s 7th Birthday at this site!

It’s our seventh birthday! Sleepy and I started the Johnny Depp Zone on this site seven years ago, continuing the Johnny Depp Zone tradition that has been operating in one form or another for more than 13 years.

We officially opened the “new” Zone on July 9, 2004, the first anniversary of the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. When we began the website, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had just started shooting at Pinewood, Corpse Bride had just been announced, there were rumors Finding Neverland would finally be released in the fall, and Johnny’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, had just been formed. The Libertine was in post-production and headed for a work-in-progress showing at the Toronto Film Festival.

How time flies! Not only have we seen Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and The Libertine make their way into theaters, but we’ve watched every step of the production of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End, and On Stranger Tides; we’ve heard Johnny sing his way to a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination in Sweeney Todd; we’ve seen him shoot up the screen as Dillinger in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, charm us as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s blockbuster Alice in Wonderland, intrigue Angelina Jolie in The Tourist and ride to the rescue as Rango.

Now Johnny is busy filming Dark Shadows, a longtime dream project, for Tim Burton, while another dream project, Bruce Robinson’s version of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary, heads to movie theaters in October. This fall Johnny will play Tonto in Gore Verbinski’s version of Lone Ranger, and a remake of The Thin Man, with Johnny playing suave detective Nick Charles for director Rob Marshall, is also in the works. The year to come will surely be a busy and delightful one!

As we celebrate and reminisce today, I’d like to thank Sleepy and Theresa for their constant help and support, and to salute our ONBC moderators, Liz and DeppintheHeartofTexas, for their dedication and hard work. Without them, we wouldn’t have a Zone. Many thanks to everyone who has helped us along the way, to all our staff past and present, to Andre for his technical wizardry, and to all of our members for making the Zone a wonderful place to be. And thanks to Moonbeam for the delightful birthday card.

Most of all, thanks and much love always to Johnny Depp, for being a continual source of inspiration and delight–he’s the reason we’re here!