Gore Verbinski thinks three Pirates movies is enough; he’s officially told Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer that he will not be returning for the fourth Pirates film, scheduled to get underway in 2010. Instead he’s going to be turning his attention more fully to his adaptation of Bioshock.

Good for him. The first Pirates was a delight, the second intriguing, the third a wildly self-indulgent slog. How do you get self-indulgent in a summer tentpole movie based on a fucking theme park ride? How weird is that? But he did it, and I like to imagine that Verbinski knows there’s nowhere bigger to go in Pirates IV but he’d be tempted to try it anyway.

And while there’s never been a truly good video game to movie adaptation, Bioshock could well be the one to break the streak. The game is okay – I never fully understood why people went so bonkers over it – but it’s got that Verbinski production design porn thing (ie, the rich man’s Terry Gilliam) all over it. It’s also got just enough story to make you think that there’s something interesting going on, just like the last two Pirates movies.

At the very least this seems to clear up where Verbinski’s head is, as he’s been circling other projects in recent months. I wonder if this means Bioshock is going to start seriously moving forward in the next few weeks.