Two sequels to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl were conceived in 2004, with Elliott and Rossio developing a story arc that would span both films. Filming took place from February to September 2005 in Palos Verdes, Saint Vincent, the Grenadines, Dominica, and The Bahamas, as well as on sets constructed at Walt Disney Studios. It was shot back-to-back with the third film of the series, At World's End.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was released in the United States on July 7, 2006. The film received positive reviews, with praise for its plot, performances specially that of Depp and special effects but criticism for its running time. Despite this, it set several records in its first three days, with an opening weekend of $136 million in the United States, and it was, at the time, the fastest film ever to gross over $1 billion in the worldwide box office. As of August 2018, it ranks as the 26th highest-grossing film of all time worldwide and held the record as the highest-grossing film by Walt Disney Pictures for nearly four years until it was surpassed by Toy Story 3 and remained the highest-grossing live-action film by Walt Disney Pictures for nearly six years until it was surpassed by The Avengers. The film received four Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and won the Academy Award for Visual Effects.
Charming rogue pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back for a grand, swashbuckling, nonstop joyride filled with devilish pirate humor, monstrous sea creatures, and breathtaking black magic. Now Jack's got a blood debt to pay—he owes his soul to the legendary Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), ghostly Ruler of the Ocean Depths— but the ever so crafty Jack isn't about to go down without a fight. Along the way, dashing Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and the beautiful Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) get up in the thrilling whirlpool of misadventures stirred up in Jack's quest to avoid eternal damnation by seizing the fabled Dead Man's Chest!
It is the wedding day of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). However, the arrival of Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) in Port Royal disrupts proceedings, as both Will and Elizabeth are arrested on the charge of setting free an enemy of the crown: Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), whom Beckett also wishes to track down.
Jack has his own set of troubles to worry about, however. A debt he made with Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) to raise the Black Pearl from the depths of the ocean thirteen years ago is set to be paid, and Jack does not wish to bind himself to a lifetime of servitude as part of Jones' crew. Instead, he sets out to locate the Dead Man's Chest and the key that opens it, in order to gain control over Jones himself. Jack escapes from a Turkish prison with a drawing of the key, and sets off to track it down. Meanwhile, Cutler Beckett strikes a deal with Will Turner, wishing for him to obtain Jack Sparrow's compass in exchange for a full pardon. Will remains dubious, but is left with no other choice.
By this point, Jack has begun his voyage, though is unable to discern any resolute course from his compass. He descends to the lower deck to search for more rum, where he encounters William "Bootstrap Bill" Turner (Stellan Skarsgård). Turner had chosen to serve Davy Jones after being sent to the bottom of the ocean by Hector Barbossa—as a cursed man, unable to die. He warns Jack that his time is up, and that Jones has released the Kraken to bring Jack in. Before departing, Bootstrap marks Jack with the Black Spot, a sign that the Kraken is coming for him. Terrified, Jack orders Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin R. McNally) to head for land—any land—to avoid this terrible beast. In the confusion, Jack the monkey knocks Sparrow's hat into the sea, where it is carried far from its owner. It ends up in the hands of two fishermen, whose ship is suddenly dragged under the water by an unseen creature.
In the prisons at Fort Charles, Will informs Elizabeth of his plan to track down Jack, but Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce) does not trust Will to free both himself and Elizabeth. As Will begins his search in Tortuga, Weatherby procures passage back to England for himself and his daughter. Will's search ends on Isla de Pelegostos, where the Black Pearl has been beached. As he explores the nearby tropical forest, Will is captured by the native Pelegostos, and taken to a mountaintop village. There, he finds Jack acting as chief of the tribe, and though Sparrow does nothing to help Will in his predicament, he does whisper, "Save me!" before Will is taken away. Back in Port Royal, Governor Swann releases Elizabeth and makes for a rendezvous with Captain Hawkins, only to find Beckett's henchman, Mercer (David Schofield), waiting for him. Elizabeth, however, uses Mercer's appearance as a diversion, escaping back to Fort Charles, where she confronts Lord Beckett at the end of a pistol. Beckett makes a deal with her, giving her the Letters of Marque in exchange for Jack's compass. She leaves, and stows away, disguised as a sailor boy, aboard the Edinburgh Trader.
Meanwhile, another prison break has occurred, and now Pintel (Lee Arenberg) and Ragetti (Mackenzie Crook) are making their way to Pelegosto Island along with the Prison Dog. They reach land, and set about preparing to take the Pearl as their own. Elsewhere on the island, Will Turner is being held inside one of two bone cages suspended over a ravine, along with the surviving crew of the Pearl. Gibbs informs him that the Pelegostos believe Jack is a god in human form, and intend to free his divine spirit by roasting and eating his "fleshy prison". The crew attempts to swing their cages across the chasm to climb up the other side. However, Leech spurs his crewers on to compete with Will and the others, and in their haste, tumble from the side of the cliff and plummet into the ravine. This draws the attention of a sentry, who runs to warn the villagers.
The sentry inadvertently buys Jack some time, as his arrival coincides with the Pelegostos' attempt to roast Jack alive. He escapes while the villagers race to kill their prisoners, but meets further resistance as he makes his way through the village. As Will and the crew roll through the jungle, still trapped inside their cage, Jack falls into a ravine, though his fall is broken by the pole he is tied to, and a series of wooden bridges.
The crew makes it back to the Pearl just as Pintel and Ragetti, recently escaped from jail with help from the Prison Dog, are attempting to commandeer the ship. Jack himself arrives, pursued by the entire Pelegostos tribe, though manages to board the ship before they can catch him. Instead, their attention is drawn by the dog, who runs off into the jungle, chased by the natives.
Once back on the water, Will reveals he requires Jack's compass, though Jack brushes him off, instead ordering Gibbs to head upriver. He then proceeds to explain, using Will's naivety concerning Davy Jones, that the key Jack is looking for will enable Will to rescue Elizabeth. Elizabeth herself has departed Port Royal onboard the Edinburgh Trader, and begins to arouse the crew's superstitions when they come to believe her dress belongs to the spirit of a vengeful woman. By now, the Pearl's crew has taken to the longboats and heads up the Pantano River into Cypress Forest, for a meeting with the voodoo priestess, Tia Dalma. There, Dalma senses a "touch of destiny" about Will, and tells the tale of Davy Jones to her audience. She reveals that Jones, once in love, tried to spare himself the heartbreak of losing his love by cutting out his own heart, and locking it away in a chest. She also informs Jack that Jones keeps the key about his person at all times, and offers him a jar of dirt, explaining that, as Jones is unable to set foot on land for another decade, Jack should keep land about him for protection. Dalma then divines the location of the Flying Dutchman, for which the Pearl sets sail.
Will Turner volunteers to head over to what he believes is the Dutchman and negotiate for Jack's soul. However, he is unaware that the wrecked ship he boards is not Jones' ship, which bursts out of the water in front of him as Will explores the vessel. He is surrounded by Jones' crewmen, who have served for so long on the Dutchman that various sea creatures have been assimilated into their bodies. Will is knocked out and lined up with the survivors of the wreck. Davy Jones reveals himself, proposing a deal with any who would rather serve aboard his ship than face their final judgment in death. One man refuses, and is killed, while others are forced to agree. Jones realizes Will is neither dead nor dying, and demands to know his purpose. Will reveals that Jack Sparrow sent him to settle his debt, and Jones uses his supernatural power to bring himself, along with his crew, aboard the Black Pearl to confront Sparrow himself. Jack tries to tell Jones that he (Jack) was only Captain for 2 years until Barbossa's mutiny, but Jones refuses to accept that and reminds him he has introduced himself as Captain Jack Sparrow for all these years. Jack negotiates with Davy Jones, and is given three days to find one hundred souls to serve Jones—the first being Will himself, still aboard the Dutchman. Jones removes the Black Spot, and Jack immediately heads for Tortuga to harvest the souls.
Elizabeth is also on her way to Tortuga, after again using the Edinburgh crew's superstitions against them. She makes them believe the spirit is asking them to go to Tortuga, and writes the name in oil on the ship's deck, setting it on fire to get their attention. In the Faithful Bride tavern, Gibbs begins recruiting sailors to sail aboard the Pearl—and ultimately be handed over to Jones—though manages only to recruit four. The fifth reveals himself as James Norrington, former Commodore, having been disgraced after piloting his ship into a hurricane while pursuing Jack and the Black Pearl. He starts a bar brawl after attempting to shoot Jack, which is joined by Elizabeth as Jack and his crew sneak out. Elizabeth knocks Norrington unconscious before he can do any more damage, and he is thrown into the pigsty. Mercer watches these proceedings, and later offers Norrington a deal on behalf of Lord Beckett.
Meanwhile, aboard the Flying Dutchman, Bootstrap Bill is reunited with his long-lost son after Jimmy Legs orders "Mr. Turner" to secure the mast tackle. Both Turners attempt the procedure, and when Bill encounters his son, lets go of the line, causing Will to drop a hoisted cannon into the deck. For his apparent mistake, Jimmy Legs prepares to whip Will, but Bootstrap intervenes, revealing to Davy Jones that he is the boy's father. Cruelly, Jones forces Bootstrap to whip his own son, though Bootstrap insists it was an act of compassion compared to the severe lashing Jimmy Legs would have inflicted.
Back in Port Royal, Beckett meets with a manacled Governor Swann and informs him that Elizabeth has been sighted by Mercer in the company of Sparrow and "other fugitives from justice". He convinces an extremely reluctant Swann to relinquish his authority to him, in order to assure Elizabeth's safety. On the Flying Dutchman, Will meets his father, and they both play Davy Jones at Liar's Dice in an attempt to win the key. They lose, but Will later steals it and rows to a ship (the Edinburgh Trader). Davy Jones realizes this means that Jack is after his heart. He catches the Edinburgh Trader and summons the Kraken which destroys the ship and kills all aboard (except for Will, who escapes), while Davy Jones sets sail for the island the heart is buried on.
Both crews arrive at the island at much the same time, although Davy Jones sends his sailors to retrieve the chest as he cannot set foot on land for another decade. Jack, Norrington and Elizabeth use the compass to find the chest. Will appears and is reunited with Elizabeth. They embrace and Will kisses her. The chest precipitates a three-way duel between Jack, Will and Norrington for possession of it. As they are occupied, Davy Jones's crew arrives and attack Ragetti and Pintel who have taken the chest while Jack, Will, and Norrington fight each other.
Elizabeth chases both Ragetti and Pintel, eventually fleeing and fighting with them as Davy Jones' crew catches up with the chest they were carrying. They manage to fight them as Jack manages to get away from Will and Norrington. He opens the dropped chest, taking Davy Jones' heart and closing it again. He puts it in the jar of dirt he brought with him when he runs and makes it back to the longboat. Eventually, while Jack is distracted, Norrington sees both the chest and the jar of dirt in the longboat. He makes a "brave" gesture of taking the chest and running with it to draw Davy Jones' crew away from the others to help them make their escape not telling them that he has already taken the heart from the jar. Jack, still thinking that he has the heart, agrees and the others flee. Norrington is cornered by Davy Jones' crew, but plays the coward and drops the chest to run away while they laugh.
Escaping the island, the Pearl is finally caught by the Kraken. After a vicious struggle, the jar holding the dirt is broken and emptied revealing that the heart is no longer in it. Jack frantically searches what is left (frantically exclaiming, "Where's the thump-thump?!") as the crew prepares to defend the ship from the Kraken. During the battle, Elizabeth catches sight of Jack rowing away from the boat, calling him a coward. Later on, as Jack is rowing away from the embattled ship, he is shown looking at his compass before deciding whether or not to go back and help. Will and the rest of the crew have managed to put together a trap to help defend the ship and it is during that final battle against the Kraken that Elizabeth runs into Jack who has returned. He fires a shot into the trap of gunpowder that drives the Kraken away for the moment, but it is enough to buy the crew time to escape. He gives the painful order to abandon ship.
However, Elizabeth realizes the Kraken is specifically after Jack. She kisses him passionately, and as she does, Will (who is climbing down the ship to the wooden "lifeboat") witnesses the kiss but says nothing, although he is clearly hurt. Elizabeth uses the opportunity to chain Jack to the mast as the rest of the crew escape from the ship. Jack has seemingly decided to show his good side by returning to help at the risk of his own life, while Elizabeth for once throws her own sense of honor and decency to the wind, both by kissing Jack, and by chaining him to the mast to save herself. She tells everybody in the lifeboat they escape in that Jack has "elected" to remain aboard and go down with his ship and they sail away from the Black Pearl. Jack manages to slip out of his shackles just as the Kraken appears on all sides of the ship, trapping him. Jack grabs a sword and smiles saying, "Hello, beastie," and attacks the Kraken as it destroys the Black Pearl and drags her underwater to her grave. Davy Jones sees this and proclaims Jack's debt fulfilled. However, he then realizes that something is not right and asks to see the "chest". After realizing his heart has been stolen and believing Jack had it when the Kraken killed him, he looks up into the sky and shouts, "Damn you, Jack Sparrow!"
Norrington is found by ships from the East India Trading Company and is taken to Port Royal. There, he reappears and reports to Beckett with the Letters of Marque. To Beckett's surprise, Norrington does not deliver Sparrow's magical compass as Beckett hoped, but another, more powerful item, the heart of Davy Jones. The Pearl's survivors revisit Tia Dalma where they drink a toast to Jack, during which time Will is still distrustful of Elizabeth following the kiss he witnessed. Will tries to comfort her, mistaking her guilt for sadness, by promising that if anything could be done to save Jack that he would do it. Tia interrupts Will before he can finish and questions how far he or the rest of the crew would truly be willing to go to save Captain Jack, Will, Elizabeth, and the crew unanimously agree to travel to the World's End to save Jack. A now cheerful Tia explains that they will need a captain who knows those waters. Just as she finishes these words, footsteps are heard coming down the stairs. Everyone gathers around to see discover, to their surprise, that it is none other than the formerly dead Captain Hector Barbossa who exclaims, "So tell me, what's become of my ship?" before biting into a green apple, free of the curse that had plagued him once before.
- Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow: Captain of the Black Pearl. He is hunted by the Kraken because of his unpaid blood debt to Davy Jones. He is also searching for the Dead Man's Chest to free himself from Jones' servitude.
- Orlando Bloom as Will Turner: A blacksmith-turned-pirate who strikes when he sees Elizabeth kiss Jack, as he believes she loves Jack, unaware of the fact that the kiss was a trap so she could save herself, Will and the crew.
- Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann: Governor Swann's daughter and Will's fiancée, who is arrested on her wedding day for helping Captain Jack Sparrow escape. Escaping jail with help from her father, she meets up with Jack in Tortuga and joins his crew to search for both Will and the chest. Her engagement to Will may be broken after he sees her kiss Jack, though the kiss was a trap so she could save herself, Will and the crew. It is implied she still loves Will.
- Stellan Skarsgård as Bootstrap Bill Turner: A crewman aboard the Flying Dutchman who also happens to be Will Turner's father. He was once part of Hector Barbossa's crew. When they went to give mutiny to Jack, he disagreed. Thrown overboard after refusing to take part in the mutiny against Jack led by Barbossa, he spent years bound to a cannon beneath the crushing ocean, though before this, he sent one piece of the Aztec Gold to his son, Will, saying they all deserved to be cursed. Found by Davy Jones, he swore to servitude aboard the Flying Dutchman crew and escaped death. This story was told by Pintel to Will and Jack's crew in the first movie.
- Bill Nighy as Davy Jones: Captain of the Flying Dutchman. Davy Jones was once a human being who was unable to bear the pain of losing his true love. He carved out his heart and put it into the Dead Man's Chest, then buried it in a secret location. He has become a bizarre creature – part octopus, part crab, part man. Jones collects the souls of dead or dying sailors to serve aboard his ship for one hundred years.
- Jack Davenport as James Norrington: He resigned his commission as Commodore in the Royal Navy after losing his ship and crew in a hurricane in the pursuit of Jack Sparrow and his crew. Fallen on hard times and into alcoholism, he joins the Black Pearl's crew and seeks to regain his honor and Naval career.
- Kevin McNally as Joshamee Gibbs: The Black Pearl's first mate and Jack Sparrow's loyal friend, he once served in the Royal Navy under Lieutenant James Norrington.
- Jonathan Pryce as Governor Weatherby Swann: Elizabeth's father and governor of Port Royal. He adores his daughter but puts little faith in Will – not considering him the best match for Elizabeth.
- Lee Arenberg as Pintel: A pirate and former Black Pearl crew member under Captain Barbossa, he was imprisoned after the Aztec curse was broken, but escaped to rejoin Jack Sparrow's Black Pearl crew.
- Mackenzie Crook as Ragetti: Pintel's inseparable crewmate. He has a wooden eye, and despite being illiterate, has begun "reading" the Bible, with the excuse that "you get credit for trying."
- Tom Hollander as Lord Cutler Beckett: Sarcastic chairman of the East India Trading Company, he travels to Port Royal to capture and recruit Jack Sparrow as a privateer. What he really desires is Davy Jones' heart, with which he can rule the seas with Jones' commanded servitude.
- Naomie Harris as Tia Dalma: An obeah priestess whom Jack Sparrow bartered with for his magic compass. She explains the legend of Davy Jones, in addition to owning a similar locket to his.
- David Bailie as Cotton: A sailor who lost his tongue and trained his parrot Tiki Macaw to talk for him.
- Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa: The ex-captain of the Black Pearl is resurrected during this film; however, he does not appear until the final scene. Having met his demise in the previous installment, Barbossa is resurrected by the character Tia Dalma and agrees to rescue Jack Sparrow in order to save the Black Pearl. For this role, Rush was uncredited to keep his return a surprise and the DVD commentary said that not even the cast of the movie knew that Rush confirmed desire to reprise his character more often and that the expressions on the characters' faces when seeing him for the first time in 3 years were real.
Following the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), the cast and crew signed on for two more sequels to be shot back-to-back, a practical decision on Disney's part to allow more time with the same cast and crew. Writer Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio decided not to make the sequels new adventures featuring the same characters, as with the Indiana Jones and James Bond series, but to retroactively turn The Curse of the Black Pearl into the first of a trilogy. They wanted to explore the reality of what would happen after Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann's embrace at the end of the first film, and initially considered the Fountain of Youth as the plot device. They settled on introducing Davy Jones, the Flying Dutchman and the Kraken. They also introduced the historical East India Trading Company, who for them represented a counterpoint to the themes of personal freedom represented by pirates.
Planning on the film began in June 2004, and production was much larger than The Curse of the Black Pearl, which was only shot on location in St. Vincent. This time, the sequels would require fully working ships, with a working Black Pearl built over the body of an oil tanker in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. By November, the script was still unfinished as the writers did not want director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer to compromise what they had written, so Verbinski worked with James Byrkit to storyboard major sequences without need of a script, while Elliott and Rossio wrote a "preparatory" script for the crew to use before they finished the script they were happy with. By January 2005, with rising costs and no script, Disney threatened to cancel the film, but changed their minds. The writers would accompany the crew on location, feeling that the lateness of their rewrites would improve the spontaneity of the cast's performances.
Filming for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest began on February 28, 2005, in Palos Verdes, beginning with Elizabeth's ruined wedding day. The crew spent the first shooting days at Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles, including the interiors of the Black Pearl and the Edinburgh Trader which Elizabeth stows away on, before moving to St. Vincent to shoot the scenes in Port Royal and Tortuga. Sets from the previous film were reused, having survived three hurricanes, although the main pier had to be rebuilt as it had collapsed in November. The crew had four tall ships at their disposal to populate the backgrounds, which were painted differently on each side for economy. One of the ships used was the replica of the HMS Bounty used in the 1962 film adaptation of Mutiny on the Bounty.
On April 18, 2005, the crew began shooting at Dominica, a location Verbinski had selected as he felt it fitted the sense of remoteness he was looking for. That was exactly the problem during production: the Dominican government were completely unprepared for the scale of a Hollywood production, with the 500-strong crew occupying around 90% of the roads on the island and having trouble moving around on the underdeveloped roads. The weather also alternated between torrential rainstorms and hot temperatures, the latter of which was made worse for the cast who had to wear period clothing. At Dominica, the sequences involving the Pelegosto and the forest segment of the battle on Isla Cruces were shot. Verbinski preferred to use practical props for the giant wheel and bone cage sequences, feeling long close-up shots would help further suspend the audience's disbelief. Dominica was also used for Tia Dalma's shack. Filming on the island concluded on May 26, 2005.
The crew moved to a small island called White Cay in the Bahamas for the beginning and end of the Isla Cruces battle, before production took a break until August, where in Los Angeles the interiors of the Flying Dutchman were shot. On September 18, 2005, the crew moved to Grand Bahama Island to shoot ship exteriors, including the working Black Pearl and Flying Dutchman. Filming there was a tumultuous period, starting with the fact that the tank had not actually been finished. The hurricane season caused many pauses in shooting, and Hurricane Wilma damaged many of the accessways and pumps, though no one was hurt nor were any of the ships destroyed. Filming completed on September 10, 2005.
The Flying Dutchman's crew members were originally conceived by writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio as ghosts, but Gore Verbinski disliked this and designed them as physical creatures. Their hierarchy is reflected by how mutated they were: newcomers had low level infections which resemble rosacea, while the most mutated had full-blown undersea creature attributes. Verbinski wanted to keep them realistic, rejecting a character with a turtle shell, and the animators watched various David Attenborough documentaries to study the movement of sea anemones and mussels. All of the crew are computer-generated, with the exception of Stellan Skarsgård, who played "Bootstrap" Bill Turner. Initially his prosthetics would be augmented with CGI but that was abandoned. Skarsgård spent four hours in the make-up chair and was dubbed "Bouillabaisse" on set.
Captain Davy Jones had originally been designed with chin growths, before the designers made the move to full-blown tentacles; the skin of the character is based on a blurred version of the texture of a coffee-stained Styrofoam cup. To portray Jones on set, Bill Nighy wore a motion capture tracksuit that meant the animators at Industrial Light & Magic did not have to reshoot the scene in the studio without him or on the motion capture stage. Nighy wore make-up around his eyes and mouth to splice into the computer-generated shots, but the images of his eyes and mouth were not used. Nighy only wore a prosthetic once, with blue-colored tentacles for when Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) steals the key to the Dead Man's Chest from under his "beard" as he sleeps. To create the CG version of the character, the model was closely based on a full-body scan of Nighy, with Jones reflecting his high cheekbones. Animators studied every frame of Nighy's performance: the actor himself had blessed them by making his performance more quirky than expected, providing endless fun for them. His performance also meant new controls had to be stored. Finally, Jones' tentacles are mostly a simulation, though at times they were hand-animated when they act as limbs for the character.
The Kraken was difficult to animate as it had no real-life reference, until animation director Hal Hickel instructed the crew to watch King Kong vs. Godzilla which had a real octopus crawling over miniatures. On the set, two pipes filled with 30,000 pounds of cement were used to crash and split the Edinburgh Trader: Completing the illusion are miniature masts and falling stuntmen shot on a bluescreen stage. The scene where the Kraken spits at Jack Sparrow does not use computer-generated spit: it was real gunge thrown at Johnny Depp.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest premiered at Disneyland in California on June 24, 2006. It was the first Disney film to use the new computer-generated Walt Disney Pictures production logo, which took a year for the studio to design. Weta Digital was responsible for the logo's final animated rendering and Mark Mancina was hired to score a new composition of "When You Wish Upon A Star".
The film became available on DVD on December 5, 2006 for Region 1 and sold 9,498,304 units in its first week of sales (equivalent to $174,039,324). In total it sold 16,694,937 units, earning $320,871,909. It was the best-selling DVD of 2006 in terms of units sold and second in terms of sales revenue behind The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
The versions for Regions 2 and 4 had already been released on November 15, 2006 and November 20, 2006, respectively. The DVD, incompatible with some Region 1 hardware DVD Players due to the use of ARccOS Protection, came in single and two-disc versions. Both contained a commentary track with the screenwriters and a gag reel, with the double-disc featuring a video of the film premiere and a number of documentaries, including a full-length documentary entitled "According to the Plan" and eight featurettes. The film was released on Blu-ray Disc on May 22, 2007.
After months of anticipation and industry hype, reviews for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest were positive: the film scored a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 1000.2000/300. Drew McWeey was highly positive, comparing the film to The Empire Strikes Back, and also acclaimed its darkness in its depiction of the crew of the Flying Dutchman and its cliffhanger. The completely computer-generated Davy Jones turned out to be so realistic that some reviewers mistakenly identified Nighy as wearing prosthetic makeup. Empire magazine gave the film 3 stars saying "Depp is once again an unmitigated joy as Captain Sparrow, delivering another eye-darting, word-slurring turn with some wonderful slapstick flourishes. Indeed, Rossio and Elliot smartly exploit these in some wonderful action set-pieces." "We don’t get the predictable ‘all friends together on the same quest’ structure, and there’s a surfeit of surprises, crosses and double-crosses and cheeky character beats which stay true to the heroic sense of fun." Lord McLovin of MovieWeb said "The second tale of Captain Jack Sparrow is another epic adventure!"
Dead Man's Chest earned $423,315,812 in the North America and $642,863,913 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $1,066,179,725. Worldwide, it ranks as the eighth highest-grossing film, the second highest-grossing Disney film, the highest-grossing 2006 film, the highest grossing film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series and the highest-grossing second film in a franchise. It reached the $1-billion-mark worldwide in record time (63 days), a record that has since been surpassed by many films, of which the first was Avatar (in January 2010).
In North America, the film broke many records including the largest opening- and single-day gross ($55.8 million), the biggest opening weekend gross ($135.6 million), the least time to reach $100, $200 and $300 million and the highest ten-day gross. However, most of them were broken by Spider-Man 3 in May 2007 and The Dark Knight in July 2008. The film was in first place at the box office for three consecutive weekends. It closed in theaters on December 7, 2006, with a $423.3 million haul. Thus, in North America, it is the highest-grossing film of 2006, the highest grossing film in the series, the second highest-grossing Disney film of all time and the ninth highest-grossing film of all time, although, adjusted for inflation, the film ranks forty-sixth on the all-time chart.
Outside North America, it is the eighteenth highest-grossing film, the third highest-grossing Pirates film, the sixth highest-grossing Disney film and the highest-grossing film of 2006. It set opening-weekend records in Russia and the CIS, Ukraine, Finland, Malaysia, Singapore, Greece and Italy. It was on top of the box office outside North America for 9 consecutive weekends and 10 in total. It was the highest-grossing film of 2006 in Australia, Bulgaria, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden and Thailand.
The film was released on DVD in the United States on December 5, 2006, with a European release later in the same month. A "Collector's Edition" with extra features was also released. The features of the DVD are as follows:
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- Bonus Features
- Writers' Commentary by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
- Bloopers of the Caribbean
- Charting the Return
- According to Plan
- Captain Jack: From Head to Toe
- Mastering the Blade
- Orlando Bloom
- Keira Knightley
- Jack Davenport
- Meet Davy Jones
- Creating the Kraken
- Dead Men Tell New Tales
- Fly on the Set: The Bone Cage
- Jerry Bruckheimer: A Producer's Photo Diary
- Pirates on Main Street
- Easter Eggs
At the 79th Academy Awards, visual effects supervisors John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and Allen Hall won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects, which was also the first time since 1994's Forrest Gump that Industrial Light and Magic had received that particular Academy Award. The film was also nominated for Best Art Direction, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.
The film also won a BAFTA and Satellite award for Best Visual Effects, and six awards from the Visual Effects Society.
Other awards won by the film include Choice Movie: Action Adventure, Choice Drama/Action Adventure Movie, Actor for Johnny Depp at the 2006 Teen Choice Awards; Favorite Movie, Movie Drama, Male Actor for Depp and On-Screen Couple for Depp and Keira Knightley at the 33rd People's Choice Awards; Best Movie and Performance for Depp at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards and Best Special Effects at the Saturn Awards, and Favorite Movie at the 2007 Kids' Choice Awards.
- This film takes place a year after The Curse of the Black Pearl.
- According to some rumors, the first proposed title for the second movie was Pirates of the Caribbean: Treasures of the Lost Abyss.
- Three famous paintings were used as the basis for the Dead Man's Chest poster; "Capture of Kent by Surcouf" by Ambroise Louis Garneray, "De Windstoot" by Willem van de Velde the Younger, and "De Hollanders steken Engelse schepen in brand tijdens de tocht naar Chatham, 20 juni 1667" by Jan van Leyden.
- The scene where Elizabeth kisses Jack and then handcuffs him to the mast may have been inspired by the film Hannibal, in which Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter kiss, and Starling handcuffs Lecter's wrist to hers while he is distracted.
- The DVD cover of Dead Man's Chest is currently the only cover to have the least amount of characters featured on it: Johnny Depp (as Jack Sparrow), Orlando Bloom (as Will Turner), and Keira Knightley (as Elizabeth Swann). The other movies all have at least four characters included on the DVD cover.
- This is the first movie to use the current Walt Disney Pictures logo, which is the CGI castle.
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