Werewolves to Blame for $250 Million ‘Lone Ranger’ Budget

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:25 pm,

250 million lone ranger budget because of werewolves Werewolves to Blame for $250 Million Lone Ranger Budget

Last week, it was announced that Disney had canceled the Gore Verbinski-directed and Jerry Bruckheimer-produced The Lone Ranger – starring Johnny Depp – because the producers couldn’t get the budget under $250 million. Naturally, this resulted in everyone on the planet passing out from sheer bafflement.

Why? Why would The Lone Ranger – an action-adventure/western film about a cowboy with a domino mask – cost nearly $200 million more than True Grit? According to a recent report, the why is… werewolves.

Lone Ranger was being written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, the same guys who wrote the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Apparently, as far back as March of 2009, Elliot posted about the project on a private writers’ website – writersactionbss.com – and one of the screenwriters who visits the site relayed the plot info to Hollywood-Elsewhere.

werewolves in the lone ranger movie Werewolves to Blame for $250 Million Lone Ranger Budget

Said the screenwriter about the revised take on The Lone Ranger:

“It was always going to be a big Bruckheimer CG movie with traditional Bruckheimer elements [and] an eye toward being a tentpole –totally Pirates-style. It was going to be a Tonto show mainly. Tonto as the top dog and more dominant than the Lone Ranger. Tonto and the Indian spirits like Obi Wan Kenobi and the force. The driving engine was going to be Native American occult aspects worked in with werewolves and special effects, [b]ut flavored with doses of Native American spirituality in a serious way.”

So basically it was going to be the Green Hornet/Kato character dynamic, where the “sidekick” is the badass. Which makes some amount of sense – Hornet is actually descended from the Lone Ranger, and Johnny Depp is obviously a bigger star than Armie Hammer (The Social Network).

Check out an excerpt from the screenplay:

lone ranger screenplay page Werewolves to Blame for $250 Million Lone Ranger Budget

On Johnny Depp’s interest in the role, the screenwriter said:

“Depp’s interest in playing Tonto is about fulfilling his Marlon Brando legacy. Depp is partly Native American himself and he was partly mentored by Brando, who was a big Indians’ rights advocate. So he didn’t want to do any kind of jaunty performance that plays it light and spoofy with the Native American thing. No Captain Jack crap this time around.”

Ah, yes. What better way to fulfill Brando’s legacy and promote Native American rights than with a $250 million Lone Ranger remake/reboot about mystical werewolves murdering people? ‘Excuse me, Wolfen is calling.’

On the part Cowboys & Aliens played in the decision to cancel Ranger

“But then Cowboys & Aliens came along and tanked and Disney got cold tenderfeet, spooked by the idea of a pricey mashup. If Cowboys & Aliens had made $200 million, this wouldn’t be happening. A Bruckheimer-style western in the wake of Cowboys & Aliens is nothing anyone is feeling secure about at this stage. Trust me, the writers of tentpole garbage are all scared now.”

Hollywood is so smart. Because one mashup film doesn’t do well, all mashup films ever need to be canceled pronto. Because Mars Needs Moms tanked, all references to Mars must be removed from that already-in-development John Carter of Mars movie – let’s just hope that audiences are dumb and assume it’s some other red planet altogether.

Additionally, Hollywood-Elsewhere is hearing that Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ surprise success – despite a relatively low budget (read: lower than $250 million) – also played a part in The Lone Ranger’s cancellation. Who knew that movies made “cheaply” could be profitable?

Lone Ranger drawn by John Cassaday

There are two schools of thought here. The first being, werewolves are awesome, so why not add them to The Lone Ranger? After all, cowboys fighting werewolves isn’t as likely to make theatergoers laugh out loud at the trailer in the way that, for example, cowboys fighting aliens might.


The sanest point-of-view, in this writer’s opinion, is somewhere in the middle: Sure, a Lone Ranger film featuring werewolves could be awesome – in the same way that pretty much every movie idea could be awesome if the writing is there – but then why are they even making a Lone Ranger film to begin with? Why not just make a generic cowboy movie with werewolves?

I suppose the answer to that, as ever, is branding. In fact, it could be argued that one of the reasons Cowboys & Aliens failed was it was too generic for its own good. That and the reviews weren’t especially positive.

Is Cowboys & Aliens’ failure also to blame for Lone Ranger being canceled?

What about you guys? Would you have been interested in a Lone Ranger film with werewolves as the bad guys? Or is that sort of overblown filmmaking what’s wrong with movies nowadays?

If ever The Lone Ranger gets un-canceled – which is actually very possible, given the talent behind the film – we’ll let you know.


Source: Hollywood-Elsewhere [via Badass Digest]

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

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  1. Oh Please.

    These people are raping the hell out of the Lone Ranger. What crap!

    Give the project to the Cohen Brothers and ditch Depp and Verbinski.

  2. I’m looking at the calendar and it says April 1st has already passed. So this isn’t an April Fool’s joke? Ok, then the only thing I can figure is that this is from California, and these guys have gotten hold of some bad acid or something. Werewolves?! Were-FRAKING-wolves??!! In a Lone Ranger film???!!! You know, I knew that Tonto was going to be the star, and while I thought that wasn’t a good idea, it just might have worked; but now, werewolves! Thank goodness this got canned.

    • Bad acid, good coke, evens out I guess.I won’t even try and front like I have seen a Lone Ranger movie but, I like most other people am aware of the basic story. This script just sounds like allot of other things in Hollywood at this point where they take one idea that might not get funded and super-impose it onto an existing idea or property.

      The idea of monsters that have been in stories since who knows when running amok in any setting itself is not a bad idea. It just seems like Hollywood wants to always gimmick something that is already a gimmick and it turns into a mess. Pirates got over because it wasn’t really based on anything but a 10 minute ride, and by all accounts that got lost at a point too.

      And as a side note all these buzzwords like re-boot, mash-up, pre-boot, re-imagining, etc., should all be consolidated into one easy to remember word b*lls**t. Makes it more simple.

  3. This has got to be one of the worst ideas I have ever heard.

  4. Why werewolves? Lone Ranger…silver bullets…perfect fit.

    • LOL, my thoughts exactly.

  5. Based on the info that I’ve heard about this movie I think it would have gone something like this:
    Lone Ranger’s fellow Texas Rangers all get killed in a brutal massacre chasing an outlaw.(much like the original story) Lone Rnager himself gets injured,Tonto finds him,nurses him back to health as the Ranger vows revenge for his slain crew. He describes the attack and is convinced that the outlaw’s gang helped him while Tonto quietly believes that something else was responsible.(werewolves) He agrees to “help” the Ranger but his true motive is so HE can figure out what’s really going on as the werewolf creature or whatever is closely tied into his Native American history. Intro Tom Wilkinson’s rumored railroad tycoon and then the plot probably shifts to some plan for him to clear out a town or an Indian tribe to make way for a railroad. And what did he use to minimize the population…werewolves. Which could be your twist in that a member of Tonto’s tribe helped him by giving up the spiritual secrets of man to animal transformation. If this is close to what they had in mind then that could have worked…maybe.

    • not a bad little story outline at all brutha

  6. I had no idea Cowboys and Aliens was considered a failure. Everyone I know saw it and loved it. I saw it 2 days ago… well after the opening weekend, and the Theater was packed, at a 4:00 Matinée!

    • It puzzles me as well considering it was well written and had good action and character developement, but for some reason the word is out that it is a failure so all the reviewers are getting on the band wagon.

      • Yeah, why do they do that?! It’s like a feeding frenzy.. with no intelligence, just survival instinct. Why do I ask rhetorical questions about the news media?

        Daredevil tanked but it was better than Nolan’s pictures IMO.

  7. Sounds like it would turn out to be some kind of True Blood for families saga. Not a bad idea.

    I suppose they thought “We can’t call it onto because people will get confused with TinTin”

  8. Sounds like a good thing that this wasnt made .

  9. very few people know the Depp movie “the Brave”, where he plays a bankrupt native american who agrees to have himself killed in a snuff film in order to financially save his family. Brando played the heavy in the picture. it was yanked from theaters a few weeks after release, and never mentioned again. this was a few years after the Gilbert Grape movie.


    • That is a fascinating fact, Lucy.
      I read Johnny’s character Raphael
      was called, ironically, Tonto in the film.

  10. Uhhhh also if you are talking about Indian culture, you are talking about the myths concerning SKINWALKING. I don’t see this as the same thing as Cowboys and aliens – not at all. Skinchanging to animals and specifically wolves is not a foreign thing when talking about native american mythos.

    Lone Ranger vs. Predator – that’s a ‘mashup’

    Lone Ranger and ‘Werewolves’ – well , not so much

    With those two guys writing it, I am a bit disappointed we won’t see it now.

  11. If they want to do a western then they need to look at something original like Silverado was way back when it came out. Something with a lot of action and especially a lot of fast gun play…That’s the only way you’re going to make money on a western today…..Maybe they were planning to make the Lone Ranger more like the comic than the really slow moving old tv series, but it still would take a lot to get people in the seats. The lone Ranger was one of the super good good guys with a white hat and clean clothes all the time….Ant Tonto with clean buckskins….And Depp as Tonto…..What? There’s not enough actors in Hollywood with complexions and over all looks that are closer looking to Native Americans than Depp? There’s several gladiators from one of the Sparticus series on HBO that might make a better match. A tonto that’s built powerful isn’t a meek side kick like in the original LR series from years ago.

  12. I want Universal to get off their Butts, and make a remake to the creature from the black lagoon and update it but keep it a scary/creepy, but also a story/character driven film already.PLEASE!!!!!!!UNIVERSAL READ THIS AND MAKE IT!!!!!lol:)

    • I don’t know if they’re going to hear you in a thread about The Lone Ranger.

  13. i could understand tonto talking to the wolf spirits, but lone ranger vs. werewolves is a little over the top. could have worked, but too risky.

    we could always have smokey and the bandit remake with aliens as the sheriff and bandit as a runaway prince from flab quarv 7 …

  14. hearing about this I am ssssssssssooooooooooo happy its not being made

  15. I guess I live in an alternate universe. My impression is that most reviews of “Cowboys and Aliens” were pretty positive (at least the ones I read/heard were.) Furthermore, the day “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” opened, my wife and I went with another couple to see “Cowboys/Aliens”. Five minutes before the mid-evening showing of “Rise/Apes” the theater was a ghosttown. I even joked with the ticket sellers about things not looking good for that film. On the other hand, the theater was reassuringly full for “Cowboys/Aliens”; and we deeply enjoyed the film; lots of fun. On top of all that, the reviews I read for “Apes” were dreadful (admittedly, I think I only read two, but my recall is that they were pretty grim). So, you can imagine my surprise when it turns out that the Apes movie is besting the Cowboy/Alien flick in the box office category. Hollywood and film fans sure can be mystifying …

    • Actually, blaming Cowboys and Aliens for removing supernatural elements from a western doesn’t appear as a very logical conclusion. Much more closer to home (and much more of a bomb) is the Jonah Hex-movie with added Zombies.
      The thing is knowing where you CAN add supernatural elements. A Movie based on a comic that DOES include aliens SHOULD have aliens. A comic that is usually gritty and fairly “grounded” such as Jonah Hex should NOT be the basis for a supernatural movie, neither should the Lone Ranger. If it is an original franchise (such as POTC) you may or may not add the supernatural.

  16. It’s a shame that this movie won’t be made, because it sounds like a real treasure. So I guess I should stop looking forward to seeing Tarzan battle robots in his new movie…

    • No Tarzan is still on but the robots are CGI cyborg gorillas from the future trying to create a planet ruled by apes. Oh wait, space cyborg gorillas trying to destroy Earth for it’s Energon. Space Gorillas looking for a magic space ring to destroy a giant space station controlled by the Empire, or they have to destroy the ring in the fires of a sacred BBQ pit. Channing Tatum is going to play Tarzan who is now a Special Forces trooper with amnesia who lives in the jungle. Whatever, it’s going to cost 300 million to make and it’s going to be epic !!!!

      • I thought it was going to be about cyborg gorillas trying to assimilate Tarzan because in the future he swings through a wormhole and destroys their planet? :-D

        • That’s the prequel, or possibly sequel. Might even use it for the re-boot if this one makes 700 million and we sell allot of Slurpee cups and Happy Meals….

          • Well, don’t forget that by law, every movie now has to be part of a trilogy. Maybe in the third part, Flash Gordon travels back in time to collect Tarzan, Doc Savage, the Lone Ranger and the Phantom, who he brings to modern day America to stop John Hammond from breeding the super-intelligent dinosaurs that will go on to create SkyNet, which will eventually turn on its masters and breed them with the Transformers, leading to the creation of Mecha-Godzilla. A fish-out-of-water, action-comedy-adventure-”bromance” film that will finally give us a valid reason to put Seth Rogan and Jack Black in the same movie as Rob Schneider.

            • Well the dinosaurs would have a war with the original time travel apes, who would be revealed as humans ancestors who killed the dinosaurs using a huge orbital space station that gets blown up when a lone Pterodactyl wearing mech-armor manages to get a plasma bomb into a vent they forgot to cover.

              But at some point there has to be a massive battle in modern times so we can have as much product placement as possible. Like have the Mech-Godzilla be killed by feedback from and I-Pad Touch or something. Also we need to fit Ryan Reynolds, Shia Lebouf and Ken Jeong in here somewhere.

              • I’ll see your Ryan Reynolds, and raise you a Jeff Goldblum as the goofy, dazed-looking loner who stumbles onto th I-Pad connection.

                Shia Labeouf can be the leader of the Micronauts, who are on a rampage, trying to destro the Transformers for stealing their schtick, and just making it bigger. Tragically, just as the battle begins to turn their way, Shia Acroyear is violently taken out by Jigsaw, who has sided with the Optimus Prime as a condition of his being broken out of Arkham Asylum.

                As luck would have it, this all happens in a year that ends with an even number, which means the Starship Enterprise has had to find another reason to slingshot back in time. But since Tarzan swung through that wormhole and changed time as we know it, they accidentally go too far back, and Chekhov gets eaten by a Sleestak. Sulu vows to avenge him, so he trains Chaka and the rest of the Pakuni in the ways of the Ninja, and charges them with killing every form of lizard. Which leads to the Lizard Holocaust that enables the Rise of Man. And, as you know, God creates Sulu, Ninja kills dinosaurs, man brings back dinosaurs, dinosaurs eat man, and Megan Fox rules the world. But then Bruce campbell and Nathan Fillion save us all just in time for the reboot next year.

                • We need more hot chicks though, the new Victoria’s Secret catalog must be out. We’ll just order some models. And we have to make some political statement. Possibly have some talking trees help the humans (CGI of course) and have them voiced by Sir Ian McKellan, Morgan Freeman,Leonard Nimoy and other actual actors who won’t want to show their face but will sit for some voice-over work.

                  • Okay, maybe the Victoria’s Secret model can play the elite Green Beret vampire army. Because after the Lone Ranger wiped out all of the werewolves, the vampires had no natural predators to keep their population in check.

                    And you know what that means – the Old Spice guy plays Van Helsing! But he’s actually just a long lost ancestor of the original Van Helsing. Luckily, he’s a rookie cop that’s been partnered up with John McLane. He’s tagging along with McLane as he goes to his son’s graduation, when suddenly the Green Beret vampire army, cleverly disguised as cheerleader squads all over the world, finally make their move. There’s a big, explosive battle, giving McLane the chance to say clever stuff like “Gimme a DIE” and “Yippee-kay-ay, motherSUCKER”.

                    • The model Vampire Elite forces thing works, there has to be vampires of course. Possibly work them into the pre-boot done in an alternate reality. A wormhole could have been opened by a school of scientist who are also wizards. They create a Straga, I mean SpaceHole (good tag-line for the movie), that transports the surviving, i.e. still under contract, cast.

                      I was thinking though since gorillas could be linked to humans the werewolves could come back as hybrid ape-werewolf-borgs. A spaceship again would somehow come into play…

  17. Lone Ranger would have been really cool if it was done in a ‘serious’ manor similar to what Christopher Nolan did with “Batman Begins”.
    Westerns are almost always about revenge so make it gritty, bloody and vengeful.
    Do that, and I believe the movie would have done well.

    • Guys! you are spoiling every movie the next 2 years 4 me… No doubt all of these are allready in pre-production..

      - Also, in the original discussion: Ok, werewolfs and Lone ranger could be fun, but is to expencive… ehh, why not rewirte and make it a regular western movie, or vampires- they are cheaper, just add cgi teeth…

  18. @ Slayer:

    I like the ape-werewolf-Borg idea. It would lead to some tension among our heroes when the Lone Ranger’s bloodthirsty urge to blow them all away because of the werewolf connection is interrupted by a distraught Tarzan, who realizes that the leader is (was) Cheetah. Friendships and loyalties will be tested. Meanwhile, the Phantom and Doc Savage have teamed up with Abraham Lincoln to take on the Vampire Barbie Squad. To make things worse, when Flash Gordon’s spaceship is sucked through the SpaceHole, his signal is picked up by a team of Predators, who recognize the spaceship he hustled from them in a rigged card game at Mos Eisley Spaceport. They follow him, and there’s a huge CGI battle between the Predators and the wizards. But, little did they know that they were bringing with them a stowaway that would change the course of alternate universe history – Rowdy Roddy Piper.

    • Yeah I forgot about Cheetah being linked to the Apes, all makes sense. The amount of time and planet jumping also gives way to a multitude of fish-out of water jokes within the script. Now when Abe Lincoln is involved will this somehow impact the Civil War or will he have been replaced by a clone ? Yeah you know what go with the clone, it makes logical sense. It also furthers the Ape and Dinosaur plot to have mankind destroy itself so they can turn the planet into an eco-friendly haven for space monsters.

      Now the Predators are a wild card and you pretty much have to have the Aliens tag along with them somehow providing and even wilder wild card (does that exist, yeah in a pre-boot it does). So in this commotion the One True Ring that will allow someone to become the Ultimate Jedi must be found. Of course all the heroes will have crazy high Midichlorian count which is why they were destined for this quest.

      Problem now is the budget has to be like 400 million per film, I mean feeding that many apes cost money. I think this epic should be shown as two trilogies and have PPV supplements on cable in between film releases. Also there will be video game tie-ins. Key is that if you miss any of them you won’t know what is going on at all ! And you will be mocked at ComicCon by girls dressed like cartoon characters and grown men dressed like little boys dressed like cartoon characters.

      Piper will show up at the end of movie 6 (it is a set of trilogies, not shown in any particular order) and tell everyone to take the 3-D glasses OFF and they will realize they have wasted money and hours out of their life they will want back on their death bed. He then piledrives Michael Bay, Lucas, Bruckheimer and anyone else he can get his hands on through tables.

      • Well, I can’t improve on your ending. You can’t top a good Rowdy Roddy Piper beatdown.

        In the end, we could save a lot of time and money if we just start the movie with Piper, and let him pile-drive everyone that’s involved in succession. It would be just as much fun, and wouldn’t take any time-consuming CGI.

        Of course, after the end credits are done, we’ll get to see Piper wipe the blood off his hands, the sweat off his brow, and then pull off his mask, revealing himself to be M. Night Shyamalan.

        • Save money, no CGI ? That’s heresy. And if M. Night Shyamalan is involved then the twist would be all three movies were a nightmare some movie executive was having after being fired for losing millions of dollars on asinine movies. Then he jumps out the window, star wipe, credits then switch to a stinger of him still dead on the floor and a caption that says “No refunds”….

  19. That movie sucked, what idiot thought that tonto could carry the film , if Clanton morre was alive today he would be ashamed of depp! What a shame why not do something original like make the lone ranger like it should be a hero! bUT NO DEPP screws up westerns for a long time, thanks DEPP!

  20. Given what a screwy mess Lone Ranger turned out to be I almost wish they’d kept the werewolves. At least then it would have been obvious no one was taking the movie seriously.