Today in The Continuing Adventures of Disney’s Lone Ranger, that film production cliffhanger that I’m not certain actually has people on pins and needles to discover what happens next, we’ve got budget cuts and stalwart friendship. One of those things is, at least, a core value of the Lone Ranger.

What we’ve known so far is that producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski, star Johnny Depp and screenwriter Justin Haythe handed Disney a script that was going to cost well over $250m — closer to $275m — and the studio rightly balked. So for the past couple weeks there has been a very public back and forth over the film, with Disney exec Rich Ross saying he wants to make it, but only for a much lower price. Script changes are being made; supernatural elements are being (thankfully) cut; and there was even discussion about whether the film might get made with a director other than Gore Verbinski.

So what’s happening now? The budget is lower, but perhaps not low enough, and Disney is looking at ponying up more than seems reasonable for a Western, or not making the movie at all. Read on… Read More »

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Speculation continues as to whether Disney will or won’t bankroll a $200m Lone Ranger from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp. The studio canned the film just over a week ago thanks to budgetary concerns (it was running north of $250m) but various sources within Disney have indicated the project remains a possibility. Johnny Depp, after all, has been part of some of the studio’s biggest movies in the past decade — the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Alice in Wonderland — and is seen as one of the last bankable movie stars. (Tell that to the producers of The Rum Diary and The Tourist.)

The latest word on Lone Ranger comes from Disney executive Rich Ross, who said during the studio’s D23 Expo this weekend that he still very much wants to make the film. But he evidently omitted Gore Verbinski’s name when talking about the project, leading to even more rampant speculation that the studio wants to make a cheaper version of the movie with a different director. Read More »

‘Lone Ranger’ May Not Be Dead Yet

At the end of last week the biggest news might have been that Disney had canceled development of Gore Verbinski‘s Lone Ranger, which was set to star Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the title character. At issue was the budget. The film, based on a script full of visualizations of Native American mysticism and werewolves, and featuring a few big action sequences, was going to cost about $250 million to make.

What? $250m for a western! The Coens spent barely $40m on True Grit. Another $210m? Even with Johnny Depp, that’s a lot of digital werewolves. Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer aren’t ready to let the movie go just yet, however. Quite a few script changes and fee cuts are under way now. The werewolves have been given the boot (thankfully!) and it looks like some other big alterations are taking place in order to get the cost down to a far more reasonable $220m or less. Read More »

Sometimes even Johnny Depp is too expensive. Deadline is reporting that Disney has pulled the plug on The Lone Ranger, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced, Gore Verbinski-directed action western based on the classic TV show that was scheduled for release next Christmas. According to reports, the proposed budget came in north of $240 million and even when it was cut back, was still more than $230 million. With expensive films like John Carter and Oz The Great and Powerful already at various stages of production, and The Lone Ranger not yet shooting, Disney cancelled the film to save some bucks. There’s more after the jump. Read More »

We’ve already discussed at this space the ways in which Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer seem like excellent choices to play the Lone Ranger and Tonto, respectively, in the new The Lone Ranger film. Now another actor may be joining the mix as well. Tom Wilkinson is reportedly “in early talks” for a major part in the Disney Western, which is being directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Read more after the jump.

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Next Christmas, get your “Hi-yoo Silver!” on as Disney has now set a holiday release date for The Lone Ranger. Directed by Gore Verbinski, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Armie Hammer as the title character and Johnny Depp as Tonto, the film is scheduled to hit the big screen on December 21, 2012. Read more after the break. Read More »

If you take the plunge and watch Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides this weekend, you might leave the theater wondering how the hell that movie was greenlit. Sometimes it all starts with a pitch meeting, and the video below is a recreation of how pitching ideas to Jerry Bruckheimer might really work. It will put Pirates 4 into perspective. Read More »

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