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Will Pirates Help Kick-Start Sluggish Summer?

Maybe a little "Yo ho, yo ho" is just what the summer needs to get out of its current box office doldrums. Not that Disney is complaining, what with Pixar's FINDING NEMO breaking all kinds of records. But PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, opening July 9, 2003, may be just what the moviegoing audience craves right about now: a little old-fashioned swashbuckling fun along with a tip of the hat to one of Disneyland's most popular attractions.

The pre-buzz had been terrific for the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced actioner, which stars Johnny Depp as the fey Jack Sparrow, Geoffrey Rush as the villainous Barbossa, Orlando Bloom as the gallant Will Turner and Keira Knightley as the spunky Elizabeth Swann. And with more than able VFX supplied by Industrial Light & Magic, Boy Wonder, CIS, Digiscope, Gray Matter FX, Method and Pacific Title paying homage to Ray Harryhausen, no less Disney may find itself with a formidable one-two punch this summer.