‘Lone Ranger’ Encounters More Budget Woes; Production Behind Schedule

Published 3 years ago by , Updated September 25th, 2012 at 9:20 am,

disney lone ranger budget Lone Ranger Encounters More Budget Woes; Production Behind Schedule

Most everyone who’s been actively following Lone Ranger‘s progress has surely tired of hearing about the film’s budget woes in the aftermath of Disney’s highly-publicized efforts to cut down costs last year. Yet, the new blockbuster from Pirates of the Caribbean trifecta – namely, star Johnny Depp, director Gore Verbinski, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer – is having money problems yet again.

Insiders (reliable ones, mind you) are reporting that Depp’s unorthodox western has fallen days – possibly even weeks – behind schedule. More importantly, the budget is said to have risen above a “lowered” $215 million – and ballooned back up to the $250 million level that prompted Disney to halt the project’s development in the first place.

Heat Vision has been informed by a Disney spokesperson that the $250 million number is inaccurate; the site’s sources are nonetheless continuing to insist that the budget is “up to a number [Disney heads] didn’t want.” Reportedly, the main culprit responsible for said price hike is Verbinski’s decision to construct period-accurate locomotives for the film’s railroad set pieces, rather than simply refashion contemporary trains. That decision seems to tie into the director’s vision of Lone Ranger as a “photo-real” western. [Insert obligatory joke about the infamous Lone Ranger/werewolf rumors.]

With respect to principal photography being behind schedule: that’s actually less of a concern, seeing how Disney recently pushed Lone Ranger‘s release date back from May 2013 to the fourth of July weekend slot previously occupied by Robopocalypse. Right now, newly-appointed Disney studio head Alan Horn is thought to be focused on trimming the film’s budget (via script rewrites of certain expensive action scenes). Obviously, the Mouse House is all the more concerned about expenditures, after having to take an estimated $200 million loss on John Carter – which “helped” to force out Horn’s predecessor, Rich Ross.

Johnny Depp poses with Navajo Nation leaders on the 'Lone Ranger' set

Obviously, the primary concern for moviegoers is whether or not Lone Ranger will ultimately prove to be worth all the behind-the-scenes financial drama. Depp comes off as sincere when expressing his desire to create a portrait of Tonto that’s genuinely respectful of American Indian culture and history (in his own peculiar Depp way, of course). Moreover, Verbinski’s previously had success revitalizing tired cinematic sub-genres with his own inventive (weird?) approach to storytelling, as was very much the case with last year’s Oscar-winning animated western, Rango.

Buzz from those who’ve seen early footage from Lone Ranger is that Verbinski could “make the [western] genre popular internationally,” much like his Pirates movies did for the swashbuckler genre (naturally, take all that with a grain of salt). That may not abate the concerns of fans who worry that the Ranger (Armie Hammer) could end up being a semi-comical footnote in his own movie, but encouraging word-of-mouth should be all the more welcome for Depp fans – especially given the mediocre reception for his most recent film, Dark Shadows.

Lone Ranger remains set to gallop into theaters around the U.S. on July 3rd, 2013.


Source: THR [Lone Ranger Set Photo via Badass Digest]

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  1. Okay, so the budget for Prometheus is about $130 million, with everything that film entails. 130 million is a fairly substantial amount. But this is $120 million more? How?? What the hell’s gonna happen in it? It’s a western…
    Oh and Gore Verbinski’s a terrible director so this film is gonna be rubbish

    • Haha!! We were just saying the same thing. ;)
      I’m slow at typing so I give you credit for being 1st.

    • I doubt even Man Of Steel’s and Amazing Spiderman’s budgets were that high and they are CBM’s. Wth Disney, could this be another John Carter for them?

  2. Spending that much money does make you wonder what are they doing?
    I’ve read that Prometheus a high concept Sf/Fi movie with big sets, 3D and special effects cost around $120-$130 million to produce and it looked and was great. So it’s a bit crazy to think that it’s costing @ $250 million to make a “western”.
    It might be interesting to see just to figure out where all that money is being spent.

  3. Building a few locomotives costs 40 MILLION to build? Man I think Hollywood suffers from government contract syndrome if that’s the case.

    I say just borrow the set pieces from the AMC movie set “Hell on Wheels” while they are off season and be DONE with it. No one is going to say they don’t look like real trains from the old west.

    • That’s something else I was thinking.
      Hell On Wheels is made for next to nothing and I haven’t heard anyone complaining about the trains.

    • With this film Verbinski will give literal meaning to trainwreck.

    • LOL!!

  4. Yeah, what in God’s name are they spending all that money on? Football stadiums have cost less to build. Think of all the mouths they could feed! The humanity!

  5. The idea of Johnny Depp doing a western for Disney is like Tim Burton directing a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston…we have two VERY conflicting styles that just don’t work together well in terms of style and clarity and a co-star (Depp) who might end up hogging the spotlight from the film’s title character. Gee, Depp has never done THAT before.

    Also, as an old time film buff, I’m never terribly offended by the racist and sexist stereotypse found in old movies and TV shows. That was just then-current America’s way of looking at society, the world, and the people in it. I can very slightly forgive them when looking at it through the context of time and history and knowing that we’ve come a long way in our thinking since. Depp trying to “correct” history just seems off to me. Especially when the Western in question has werewolves in it. Well, I guess we should be grateful it’s not “Cowboys and Pretty Boy Vampires who can’t act, show emotion or keep their clothes on.”

  6. How much rewriting is going on now that Depp’s “Dark Shadows” tanked.
    Anything camp in this production might have been rethought as a result.

  7. Way to go Disney! This looks like another “John Carter” ‘success story’ in the making! ;)

    • John Carter is a great Movie !
      That sadly did not make enough money to call it a success in the Studios eyes ! Most people who had the chance and watch it liked it !

      • I liked John Carter also when I saw it in the theater. Not sure why it didn’t do well? :o

  8. I am shocked that they didn’t cut the budget of this movie to under $200 million. There is now no room for error. While more people know of the Lone Ranger than John Carter doesn’t mean it will do “Pirates” numbers to warrant it. That being said the Depp/Disney combo seems to work, so there is a chance this could pay off.

  9. Anybody rember another western that had A director who wanted it authentic. Right down to ice skates in A one minute sceen. It’s budget balloned and bombed at the boxoffice. Does anyone rember “Heavens Gate”.

    • Heaven’s what??

  10. This is NOT The Lone Ranger! It’s Disneyfied Crap! Just looking at the pictures & they say, “Cinematic abortion!”

  11. No. Throw it out. Make a good one, minus Depp & Burton. Like the old Clayton Moore ones..he’ll always be The Lone ranger to me.

  12. I was thinking the same thing…how the hell does a western take 250 million to produce? That doesn’t make sense. Westerns should be made for no less than 50 million, and even then, that’s still too much. And the movie’s title is The Lone Ranger…but it should be called The lone Depp…because that’s who the movie public is going to see plastered all over the screen. I smell a flop for Depp…the 2nd after Dark Shawdows

    • Dark Shadows was a good Movie as well,enjoyed it through out !

  13. Granted, Tonto looks like a member of the KISS Army, but I think this movie is going to be the $#!T.

  14. The start of shooting for Lone Ranger was in March not Feb. Also, in the new agreement Jerry Bruckheimer agreed to pick up any extra cost that went over the 215 million Disney was willing to pay for. So the Hollywood Reporter is missing some important facts. The budget is not if ever going up too high.

    There was never anything to do with a werewolf in the original script and any other script re-writes. People have been from the beginning looking to start false rumors/facts about this production for no good reason.

    • Same sad story happened to John Carter,right from the beginning !
      Man,give that Movie a chance ! I don’t care how much it costs..as long as it entertains me ! Thats all what this is about ! And we know if the Movie does it when it comes out ! Why some people have to destroy any fun even before they have seen it ?

    • Well… Lone Ranger did begin production (on some level) in February. There was even an official press release sent out a month in advance:


      I can’t speak to the idea of Bruckheimer picking up extra costs (it’s certainly possible), but the werewolf rumors sprung from what Bruckheimer has referred to as “supernatural coyotes.” Not the exact same thing, for sure, but similar enough, methinks.

  15. This whole thing smells like a bust. Inflating budgets and incessant rewrites usually make a bad film. Not to mention, Depp has no business playing Tonto. That’s already strike one in his quest to “create a portrait of Tonto that’s genuinely respectful of American Indian culture and history.” This isn’t the 1950s, get a real Native American to play the role!

    • Dude, you do know that Depp is a quarter Cherokee, right?

      • TBH, no I didn’t. Thanks. The rest of the problems still remain, though.

  16. $250 million for a western?!?! As much as I want to see this movie I just can’t imagine how and on what this film is going over budget.

    • Don’t you know you can’t fake the Old West anymore? It HAS to be all CGI!

  17. $250 millon anybody got the number of the LOAN ARANGER and his partner PRONTO FINACING.

  18. The lone ranger outfit is horrible and not traditional, it makes him look like a bad guy, a big mistake, why cant they ever get it right, also the white hat is to big and doesn’t go with the ugly suite, they need to have a good look at Clayton Moore, his hat fitted perfect to his head wasn’t overly big, even if they didn’t want the light blue suite [buckskin] they should have just made the original buckskin design a little darker, but this new design is like a city guy or lawyer and gives no impression of the lone ranger what so ever, a big mistake on Disney part, they need to speak to the costume designers and start again.