david hall-gore verbinski-09-4-8

With six years, three movies, and $2.6 billion under his belt, director Gore Verbinski is jumping ship on Pirates of the Caribbean‘s fourth installment, which is scheduled to start shooting in 2010.

Instead, Verbinski will flex his adaptation skills once again and direct BioShock for Universal Pictures. The film is based on the popular video game about a 1960s hero named Jack who must survive against mutated creatures and machines after his plane crashes in the horrific underwater city of Rapture.

But Verbinski bowed out gracefully, sending the future creators of Pirates 4 his best wishes:

“I had a fantastic time bringing ‘Pirates’ to life, and I am eternally grateful to Jerry, Johnny and the rest of the creative and production team. I’m looking forward to all of us crossing paths again in the future.”

If I was Jerry Bruckheimer I would follow suit here. It’s a valuable life skill to know when to quit while ahead, and I’d say that after a successful multi-billion dollar project, Verbinski and company are in the ideal position to spend the cash on a creative venture outside of the Pirates series. Verbinski’s strategy is what George Lucas should have done after making the first three Star Wars: move on (a fourth Pirates could suffer the same over-done vibe that permeated through the Star Wars prequels).

Verbinski got his sea legs with Pirates, and now his creativity is ready to set sail, but how will BioShock fare in comparison? Maybe he could get Bruce Campbell or another renowned ‘mutant’ fighter to play Jack for some extra hype. Whatever he comes up with, it ought to be good – it’s got billions behind it.

Will Pirates 4 be better off without Verbinski or should he reverse his decision? Who should Verbinski snag to star in BioShock?