Not even Bruckheimer movies can escape budget cuts

"Everyone is being asked to be more cost-conscious," said Cowen & Co. media analyst Doug Creutz. "The studios are being more careful about how much they give away on film profits."

Bruckheimer's next production, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" — his 26th film for Disney in 16 years — dramatically illustrates the new reality.

With the fourth installment of the swashbuckling tale poised to start shooting June 14, Bruckheimer and the filmmakers are scrambling to meet the more constrained budget that Disney is imposing. Although it's still large — north of $200 million — it is at least a third less than the last "Pirates" movie and includes far fewer shooting days and visual effects shots.