Gore Verbinski Working to Save ‘Lone Ranger’ by Slashing Budget

Published 4 years ago by

250 million lone ranger budget because of werewolves Gore Verbinski Working to Save Lone Ranger by Slashing Budget

“Hi-ho, Silver! Away!” Disney’s Lone Ranger film may not be dead after all. According to new reports, Disney has given director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer a week to bring the project to a more reasonable budget.

As we reported last week, Disney canceled The Lone Ranger after the film’s budget bloomed to an unbelievable $250 million. At the time, everyone was scratching their head wondering how a Western (even a Verbinski Western) could be so expensive. Earlier this week, we found out why: werewolves (or, more accurately, supernatural computer-generated werewolves).

Needless to say, the thought of The Lone Ranger and Tonto going all Twilight on us wasn’t very appealing to anyone, especially since it meant the Johnny Depp-starring film wouldn’t get made at all. Luckily, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the werewolf angle has now been cut thanks to Disney’s ultimatum.

Of course, it’s going to take a lot more than a few silver bullets to save The Lone Ranger. As THR reports, there are still plenty of big action set-pieces that are costing the film major dollars, including one that a source describes as “the biggest train sequence in film history.” Can Verbinski bring the budget down on the film without giving up his action scenes? So far, he’s been able to knock the film down to between $242-$244 million.

If Verbinski can’t rein in the budget, and it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to bring it down to the $215-$220 million budget that Disney wants, the project will either be canceled or redeveloped with a new director. If it’s the latter, it’s unclear whether Johnny Depp will stay on-board.

Depp and Verbinski worked closely together on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, so it’s possible that Depp would drop out if Verbinski was forced off the project. However, Depp also has a close relationship with Disney, and has been attached to this project for a number of years, so it’s possible he may stick through no matter what.

Whatever the case, one thing is for certain. If Depp does decide to leave the project, it’s as good as dead. There are only a few movie stars in Hollywood who can get a major project off the ground and Depp is one of them. Without a big-time star, it’s hard to imagine Disney making enough money to justify this film.

The Lone Ranger Gore Verbinski Working to Save Lone Ranger by Slashing Budget

If Gore Verbinski is kicked off the project, will Johnny Depp follow?

All things considered, it might be best for Disney to walk away from The Lone Ranger. While the movie has blockbuster potential, it would have to make a ton of money to be profitable. The Hollywood Reporter article claims that the film would have to make at least $800 million worldwide after marketing and backend payments to Depp, Verbinski, and Bruckheimer just to turn a profit.

What do you think of Disney’s ultimatum? If Verbinski can cut the budget down to Disney standards, would you be interested in seeing it?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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  1. Can’t see them justifying anything over 200 million for a Western, crazy CGI or not. I’m sorry but all the money they spend on these movies hoping to make a trillion dollars is what is probably helping drive up ticket prices overall. For everyone of those blockbuster there are flops that end up having to get paid off somehow…

  2. I just want a good western movie, not a twilight movie. And can they find a big name to play the Lone Ranger because that’s who people want to see. If I want to see a movie about Tonto then call it Tonto.

  3. If they were smart they could make it a more kid targeted Captain America

    The idea of Tonto being the real hero is stupid. The idea of Pirates-esque slapstick and werewolves is stupid.

    Slash the budget another hundred million and make it a true feel good heroic western. There are a dozen great and hollywood politically correct(which seems to be of unmost importance for some odd reason)
    The Ranger and Tonto could help rescue slaves from sneering ex Confederate bandits. They could help a tribe of indians from some evil railraod magnate and his band of maurauders.

    • I don’t like the idea of Tonto being the main protagonist either as it is “The Lone Ranger” but I don’t think the idea is stupid either considering how huge a star Depp is.. I however have no desire to see the Lone Ranger take a backseat to Tonto ala Kato and Green Hornet..

  4. I like the Warewolf angle, I can see this fiting in , with the sliver bullits and all..but the buget is to high,spend 80 million and all it good,westerns don’t need to cost that much, it’s a kids film anyhow not many grown up will run to see the lone ranger these days.

    here is a movie you will want to see….

    Trailer for The Film , R.G. productions’s live action,photo,puppets http://studios.amazon.com/movies/8921?ref=twitter via @Amazon_Studios

  5. why everyone (specially media) is spicing things so much?
    how you guys can possibly know if 250 mill is too much for a western or not?????
    its just like all of the fuss about avatars budget all over again (witch FYI i think it was actually around 500$ mill! )

    its the profit thing that Disney is worried about because all of the coast for 3d shooting and extra money people involved want to get specially Depp

    and Tonto being the center is a kind of stupid

  6. WOW!! 250 million for a western!! Big action sequences or not this is not really reasonable..at all! I love the character and I love Tonto but it may be better if this project does get canned…

    Lone Ranger and Tonto are riding on their horses and a rattle snake scares Silver and he tosses the Lone Ranger..Ranger gets bitten on his junk by the snake. He asks Tonto to race into town to get the doctor as he is in too much pain to ride with his tenders all swollen..Tonto rides into town and finds the doctor but the doctor is unable to go with Tonto because he is taking care of a gunshot wound. He tells Tonto that he has to suck the poison out of the wound. Tonto thanks the doctor and returns to the Lone Ranger and the Ranger asks Tonto what the doctor said, to do to which Tonto replies “Doctor says you are going to die Kemo Sabe!!”

  7. I’m down for some werewolves… cowboyds, indians, and werewolves? I’m down.

  8. Drop Depp and the 30-35 million disappears.

  9. Drop Depp and the project would lose Verbinski as well and those big action sequences and the budget could probably come in at 60-80 million without P+A..Project would probably be dead too though..

  10. A legitimate Lone Ranger movie is fine, but not this stupid version. Let this project die!

  11. How can it cost this much??? $100 million tops or this just wont be worth making. Surely Depp would take a paycut if he wants to do it.

  12. The werewolves in the Underworld series are probably the best of all time and those movies cost no were near this. Use some practical effects mixed with CGI.

    • GOD YES!!! Why doesn’t Hollywood use more practical effects? It looks better, and it looks “REAL” maybe because it IS REAL!!!!!

  13. HERE IS HOW YOU DO IT: Save the werewolf storyline for the sequel. Have it start out like a normal intro story, introduce (in a simpler way) the Native American metaphysics as if hinting toward a much bigger future involvement of this… The ending can also be epic in this fashion, but save the bigger budget for the bigger 2nd movie.

  14. Return of the King cost 100 millions, and that movie had great special effects and spectacular action scenes. I don’t understand the budget thing these days

    • They will cite inflation as to why one movie should cost almost as much as all three Lord of the Rings movies combined. Guess CGI has gone up in the last ten years for some reason since it is so rare and hard to produce…

  15. you know, i have always been a fan of The Legend of The Lone Ranger.
    Sure it was corny, but, at least it was an old fashioned western and it told the origin story
    Why not base it on the comic from Dynamite Entertainment?

    • Oh man,that Dynamite comic is great! All this hoopla caused me to go back and read some of the trades.
      Personally,I think the general public would be interested in seeing an old fashioned good vs. evil western and what better character to utilize than the Lone Ranger. Not this Sancho Panzo Don Quixote thing that Verbinski has in mind. I understand an artist’s vision but his take is so non-traditional especially for a tentpole movie. I say drop Verbinski,Depp will inevitably follow but keep the project alive. Start from scratch. Complete script rewrite,new director and definitely keep Hammer. He’ll be able to carry the film in my opinion especially after the public sees him star opposite Leo DiCaprio in J. Edgar. Get a big name to play Cavendish not Tonto. Hell,maybe Tonto could be played by Adam Beach(Cowboys & Aliens) Just don’t kill it Disney. There’s potential here,you just have to strike the right cord.

      • *Get a big to play Cavendish and a not so big name to play Tonto.

  16. My geeky prayers are being answered. PLEASE gimme my Lone Ranger movie! Please, please, PLEASE!!!

  17. LOL

    My thoughts. Drop Depp & Verbinski. Lone Ranger & Tonto can have equal screen time. Have someone who more closely resembles a Native American play a Native American. Given that they named him Tonto (stupid), I was hoping they make him a more serious character. Make the film more True Grit/3:10 To Yuma than Wild Wild West. The fact that Hollywood said “No” to a 250 million dollar Western movie with werewolves gives me hope, no matter the reason.

    • I agree. I’d take it a step further: How about hiring an actual Native American to play a Native American?

      • @Gene

        Hahaha. Your crazy man. Hollywood hasn’t had Native Americans play Native Americans since.. Last of the Mohicans. But I like your spunk.

        Seriously though. I would like to see NA playing NA but I honestly doubt that would happen. I dont even hear Louisiana accents (or anything close to it) when films or TV shows are made in my homestate.

        • There’s that kid that was in “Cowboys & Aliens” and “Flags Of Our Fathers” (I think someone’s already mentioned him, I don’t know his name off the top of my head). Of course, it would be nice to see a Native American play something other than “The Indian”, but I suppose we’re a few years away from that still.

          Anyway…If they screw with “The Lone Ranger” like they did with “The Green Hornet”, I’ll be skipping “The Lone Ranger” like I skipped “The Green Hornet”. What’s next? A
          re they going to remake “The Shadow” with Demetri Martin?

  18. I find it funny that “Tonto” in Italian, Portuguese and Spanish means idiot/dumb/fool. The only problem I had with the character is how they had him talking with poor english..it was nice to see a strong Aboriginal character on TV who was the “white” guys equal instead of all those stupid Cowboys VS “Indians” films that were so blatantly stereotypical and poorly thought out..

  19. You know what? Disney owes Gore this. He directed three of their biggest movies of all time! They should be willing to give him a chance to direct the movie that he wants.

    And I love how everyone is assuming that the movie would be “all Twilight” if they went with the werewolves. Um…Gore had supernatural elements in all three of his “Pirates” films, and he was able to balance them very well. I’m certain that the werewolves in this movie would’ve been awesome.

    And why cut down on the action sequences? Isn’t that audiences WANT to see? Or do you all want those “amazing” action scenes from POTC 4. You know, like the chase sequence that ended before it even began. Or the swordfight at the end that we didn’t even get to see.

    What I loved about Gore’s “Pirates” films–”Dead Man’s Chest” especially–was that they were HUGE in terms of scope. When I sat down for DMC, I knew I was in for a good old fashioned rollercoaster ride, and that’s exactly what I got. But now way too many films always feel like they’re holding back, like they’re not “big” enough, despite their status as big films.

    In the end, success makes Disney greedy. When DMC made a fortune, the first thing they asked themselves was “How can we make a movie like this, only cheaper?” Short answer. You can’t. You can’t make a huge blockbuster if you’re not willing to spend the moeny. If you do spend the money, and you spend it well, then audiences will respond. Folks saw DMC over and over again.

    But whatever. At the end of the day Disney doesn’t care if this movie is actually good or not. So long as they can make it cheaper and get their dollar back, they will see it as a “success.”

    Bottom line, I want for Gore to able to direct the movie that he wants, werewolves and huge action sequences and all. After all, who WOULDN’T want to see “the biggest train sequence of all time”?

  20. No, I wouldn’t go see it. The American West is Nature’s own FX, and it needs little to no improvement, other than editing out power lines and the like. I want to see a strong human story set against that spectacular background…in short, a traditional Western starring “the next John Wayne,” whoever he may be.

    Barring that, I wouldn’t mind seeing Mr. Depp in a Western. Remember “Dead Man”?

    I don’t think CGI today can top what John Ford did in “Yellow Ribbon.” And they’ll have to go some to beat Keaton’s work with real trains in “The General,” including the most expensive shot of the silent era.

    • You know your stuff..awesome!!

  21. I do not believe cutting a mere 25 million or so will save this project.
    There would have to be a sea change in numbers to resuscitate
    this movie and that is not possible with the current players.
    Meaning Bruckheimer, Verbinski, and Depp exiting.

  22. It all adds up I guess. The heavy salaries, story development, the 3D design, the fact that not so many westerns have been made in the last 20 plus years leaving the industry somewhat vacant in the resource department, inflation, effects heavy story, shooting on location, a good original score, marketing… Have I left anything out? Oh yeah, snarky comments…

  23. Uhhh yeah The Lone Ranger? Really?

  24. The article only skims very lightly, on the truth. To begin with, the werewolves were gone from the script a year or so ago. Plus, I’m sure this is going to be made.

  25. weve had cowboys and aliens..ten at one stage.. lone ranger vs werewolves..sure why not…the werewolf plot is jettisoned..please dont make this into another “wild wild west”…