Over the weekend it was announced that Disney had decided to pull the plug on the Johnny Depp starring “Lone Ranger” because of a budget that was spiralling out of control and threatening to crash straight into the “Cowboys and Aliens” billboard on Sunset. But is there still hope for those beseeching a Jack Sparrow Tonto?
The Hollywood Reporter says Disney has given director Gore Verbinski ”a week to rework the script and bring costs down significantly”; the film’s $250-300 million budget can be shaved, according to Disney, if the director reimagines some of the film’s bigger action sequences and asks some of the cast members to take paycuts.
“It all starts with [Verbinski],” says a source. “If there is any saving this version of the movie, he’ll have to find substantial savings. If he can, maybe we can hold this together.”
Verbinski has already got the film down to $244m, but Disney wants it to be lowered to the $215-$220m mark.
When the film would have to make something like $800m for Disney to be considered profitable, you can understand the studio’s reluctance here.
Citing an out-of-control budget that’s soaring well over $200 million, Deadline says Disney has decided to pull the plug on what was to be one of their major 2012 releases, “The Lone Ranger”. Considering the pedigree behind the pic – “Pirates of the Caribbean” helmer Gore Verbinski, uber producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and Disney golden-boy Johnny Depp – it comes as quite a surprise that the house of Mouse would pop this balloon.
Apparently Disney have been scared off by the astronomical budgets of such money-gurglers as “John Carter” and “Oz The Great and Powerful”, whose budgets have exceeded $250m and $200m respectively. I’d say it’s probably got a lot to do with the failure of recent western “Cowboys and Aliens” too.
Though the movie wasn’t expected to get underway until October, and the studio still has to pay Depp his fee (he has a “pay or play” deal which means he gets paid regardless of whether the film is made or not), Disney decided it more cost effective just to scrap the project altogether.
Depp was set to play Tonto in the Verbinski directed western, with Armie Hammer playing the title character and Ruth Wilson set as the female lead.
“The Lone Ranger” was expected to hit cinemas 2012 – unless the troupe can find another home for the film, we won’t be seeing it then or in the vicinity of that calendar spot.