- THE LONE RANGER
There's a standoff going on over at Disney regarding the fate of The Lone Ranger. Word is that the filmmakers have lowered the budget on the abruptly halted project in the hopes of getting it back on track ... but that star Johnny Depp, who has been long attached to play Tonto, won't make the picture with anyone else but director Gore Verbinski. (Replacing the helmer had reportedly been one option Disney was mulling in order to still make the picture.)
Deadline reports that producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Verbinski "are jointly presenting a new budget 'in the $215M range' to [Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich] Ross after weeks of trimming it from the previously proposed $275M which caused Disney to balk and halt production. That's still not the $200M number which the studio really wanted but is lower than the $220M at which Disney indicated to all concerned it might compromise."
The filmmakers are said to be pouring through Justin Haythe's script scene-by-scene in order to reimagine or outright excise any budget-busting bits, yet the trick is to still retain enough of a "wow" factor to make The Lone Ranger an event movie that can play overseas, where westerns traditionally don't perform well.
The film had been slated to start shooting this fall, but being put on hold has now cost it its original release date of December 21, 2012, which probably isn't such a bad thing considering it would have been going up against The Hobbit and World War Z. Even if The Lone Ranger gets back on track, Disney now has the challenge of finding the best available release date for it