August 13 2011

Disney Halts Production on Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger

Lone Ranger logoDisney has halted production on the upcoming Lone Ranger film that was due to start filming this fall with Johnny Depp in the role of Tonto.

Slated for release December 21, 2012, the new Lone Ranger film was due to tell the story of the character from the vantage point of Tonto, hence why Johnny Depp had been cast in the role.  The film has already signed Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger and Ruth Wilson, Dwight Yoakam, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale and Barry Pepper in various other roles.  (Depp and Carter in a film not directed by Tim Burton … is that allowed?)  Gore Verbinksi was to helm the film, and is best known for directing the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, all of which starred Depp and made a tremendous amount of money for Disney.

It seems the production was halted due to ballooning production costs which had hit $250 million.  Verbinksi had gotten it down to $232 million, but Disney is looking to spend around $200 million due to the number of other expensive productions has on its plate currently.

$250 million for what is essentially a cowboy movie?  Heck, even the $200 million Disney is looking to spend, how in the world do you hit those numbers on a film that is essentially a bunch of people on horses?  Verbinksi is known for his huge budgets with the third Pirates film, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, clocked in at $300 million.  I think that perhaps this is a director that need to go take some sort of class on learning how to manage his finances because the budgets he is turning in are just outlandish.  You can somewhat understand them on the three Pirate films because any time you involve water in a film the budget shoots way up, but, again, this is a movie set in the Old West … on horses … all on dry land.  How is he spending this much money?  Oh, I know, the Lone Ranger is famous for his silver bullets, Verbinksi must have gone for “realism” and ordered them cast in real silver.  Silly me.

Apparently Disney will be going forward with this movie, but only once the budget has been brought down into a range they find acceptable.  There is no word on how long that may take, nor what it may due to the targeted release date as of yet.

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