By Mike Fleming
The original plan was to begin shooting this fall. That was until, as Deadline revealed on August 12, the studio shockingly pulled the plug on a project it feared could come in at between $250 million-$275 million. The risk of such a figure on a Western became more glaring after Cowboys & Aliens had just turned in a severely disappointing domestic gross, to be followed by an even worse offshore performance, proving the adage that most Westerns don’t travel well. Cowboys & Aliens will be a costly money-loser, 50% shouldered by DreamWorks and the other half split between Universal and Relativity Media. On Lone Ranger, there has been a lot of behind-the-scenes drama as the three principal players made concessions in their deals, and worked on the script to salvage the spectacle that made the movie worth making in the first place while bringing the budget down to a more manageable figure in the $215 million range. It wasn’t pleasant, but Disney now has its original team behind the first three Pirates of the Caribbean blockbusters back together for a movie that’s expensive but at least will allow production chiefs Sean Bailey and Rich Ross the opportunity to sleep at night. Developing…
How much will this fiasco have to make to be a worthwhile expenditure?
Will people really come out in droves to see Depp do his Pirates histrionics in a sidekick role? And even if he’s not the sidekick, the masses will think he is from their knowledge of the title.
And as to this title–it has very little currency. I’m 40. I could care less about The Lone Ranger. My kids could care less. For that matter my parents said they wouldn’t see this, either. So who’s gonna go?