October 11, 2011

Lone Ranger movie rides again

‘The Lone Ranger’ Saddling Up with Johnny Depp and a Tighter Budget

By Mike FlemingEXCLUSIVE: Well, it took a week longer than I thought it would, but Disney has finally reached a meeting of the minds on The Lone Ranger with director Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. The studio is expected to formalize a new start date imminently and announce it is moving forward and putting Depp back in the saddle as Tonto, with Armie Hammer as the title character. It looked like the studio was going to announce last week when the picture brightened for the film, but it will be this week’s business instead. I don’t think Disney was able to salvage its December 21 release date because production won’t start in New Mexico until early next year.

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…
The first comment on this article reflects widespread sentiment:215 million dollars for a Western. What is the world coming to…

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?
Comment:  For more on The Lone Ranger, see Lone Ranger Writer Denies Rumors and Disney May Revive Lone Ranger.

1 comment:

Ariel said...

I guess Depp fans will go see it if nothing else.

Very disappointed that this is being pursued, as I think it is a terrible idea in more ways than one, but I'm not surprised.

I'm wondering if anyone here has read the script? Someone in another forum left a comment that they had read the script, and the word they used to describe it was 'rancid' - but they weren't specific as to what exactly about it was rancid, so I don't know if it was the plot, the way the character of Tonto is treated, or what. I'm curious to hear other reactions if anyone has read it.