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. I would have watched the hell out of this movie.

  2. Well this confirms what I always felt about this project — it was a horror story.

  3. Oh, good grief! Thank the Great Spirit this project is dead.

    I’m guessing the only reason werewolves were going to be mixed with the Lone Ranger is because the character uses SILVER BULLETS in his six shooter. But hey, since Planet of the Apes is successful, and since those movies are famous for having “apes riding horses,” they can have apes chasing the ranger and Tonto across the desert… on horseback, of course!

    Geez, you gotta love the juvenile way Hollywood thinks (if it thinks at all).

    • Yeah, someone clearly saw “silver bullets” on Wikipedia and shouted: “Yureka! Werewolves!”

      • I know, right. A “Wikipedia western,” you might say.

        When “True Grit” did so well, I hoped that maybe it would lead to a sort of glorious return of the western genre to movies, but if this (plus “Jonah Hex” and “Cowboys and Aliens”) is Hollywood’s idea of good “tentpole” westerns, I’d rather they just hang up their spurs.

    • Typical Hollywood idiocy. I agree someone probably made that connection and then vaguely remembered some Native American legends that had a similar creature. Unfortunately, if they had done ANY research they would have known the Native American equivalent are Skinwalkers, NOT the European version and not vulnerable to silver.

      Knowing the general premise all I can say is, thank goodness this didn’t get made. There are some things that should remain in the time they were created and making it “Tonto/Lone Ranger vs Werewolves” would have only tarnished the characters.

    • Given that silver is harder than lead, wouldn’t silver bullets cause greater bore wear than normal bullets?

  4. can anyone say BAD-ASS

  5. thank god this project is dead, maybe they can come back and approach this project with … I don’t know… something beyond juvenile insanity?

  6. Wow, that sounds weird. I think a Lone Ranger movie needs to be just that – a movie about the Lone Ranger A weird, supernatural Western is cool, but it’s not what the Lone Ranger is about.

  7. I would have actually liked to see Depp in something other than a Pirates or Burton movie….

  8. A true fan of the Lone Ranger would hate this movie. Hope the plug stays pulled for this version. Re-write the whole thing and get Christian Bale to play the Ranger and let Depp play Tonto with equal billing. Then you have a movie.

    • You didn’t see “Public Enemies” by any chance, did you?

      Having Bale and Depp aboard is no guarantee of success, nor even a good movie.

  9. If they reduce Depp’s salary for the movie, then the total budget might be $100 million and thus under $200 million.

  10. Traditional Bruckhiemer elements.. also known as ‘crap’.

  11. Talk about completely and totally stupid!!! The Lone Ranger in the tv show didn’t play second fiddle to Tonto. The screenwriter obviously is as silly and mentally incompetant at writing a script as this script he wrote is stupid. From the idea alone it was already plain to see that there were major rewrites to this script needed, because if it had gotten to the big screen like this, it would have been a BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC DISASTER!!!

  12. Best movie news story, ever. :P


  13. Sorry, but as much as I’d like to see a good old-fashioned Lone Ranger flick, a few things don’t cut it here. First, Johnny Depp as Tonto? Dumb, it’ll never fly, that isn’t him, and he (Depp) is not that great. Two, making this “The Tonto Show”? yeah, right, it’ll work about as well as “The Green Hornet” with Seth Rogan. Throw it out! And lastly, having them fight werewolves? How about “Were is the sense in that?!” Let’s keep it real, folks, much as I love werewolves, this isn’t the place for them.

  14. Now if Russell Brand and/or Ricky Gervais WERE the werewolves, THEN would you go to see it?!

  15. Thank goodness this was canceled. Lone Ranger fighting werewolves? Dumb idea.

  16. Screw the special effects, make the movie about PEOPLE. Sure, the writers would have to work a little harder but that’s why they get the big bucks.
    Writers, earn your paychecks for once instead of relaying on the SPX studios to get you out of your story jam.

  17. Well, this confirms that The Lone Ranger was the Bruckheimer version of Jon Peters’ Superman Lives, with werewolves instead of giant spiders. They also would have overplayed Depp and underutilized Hammer, with Depp’s over-seriousness marring the proceedings. It probably would have had a ridiculous and convoluted story, too, like the Pirates sequels. It’s probably better that this was put to bed.

  18. Cocaine must be on the rise again in Hollywood, explains these movies and the crazy budgets. Bruckheimer had already burned some goodwill with Prince of Persia and this script really does sound like the equivalent of going to Vegas and betting 200 million on a Black Jack table.

    I would have never even thought of trying to mix the Lone Ranger of all things with werewolves. Just shows the copy-cat mentality of these studios, Twilight has big CGI pony-sized wolves and that made money so it should work with a Western.

    Truly it’s the patients have killed the doctors and orderlies and have taken over the asylum, oh yeah and there’s werewolves in it too….

  19. Thank goodness this film is dead… this project was just filled with so many bad ideas.

    Werewolves is the only thing that would have gotten my ass in a theatre seat to see this.

  21. Interesting.. Cowboys and Aliens tanked!

    • I guess all the people I watched the movie with on Saturday didnt get the notice that the movie supposedly tanked. They seemed to really enjoy the movie as did I since it was my second time seeing it.

      • There’s nothing wrong with you and your friends enjoying the movie. Tanking is exclusively about not making money. C&A is not making money.

  22. branding is right, it might as well be called the lone ranger and having him fight off the evil dead while wearing a hockey mask while driving his deathproof car…

    • Cool, Evil Dead 4, or what?

  23. The Lone Ranger with werewolves doesn’t sound that great, there are so many ideas for werewolves!

  24. The Green Hornet movie let me down and this would have been too. Werewoves? Tonto the main charactor just because johnny depp is a bigger star? The movie is called The Lone Ranger not Tonto. Never was a big Bruckheimer fan, I am so glad they canned it. Sounded like some mess and I am a Lone Ranger fan. That would spoiled the memories of my Dad and I watching the reruns on Sundays after church.

  25. No bad ideas, only bad ways of executing those ideas. As long as there’s a good story and solid characters, I don’t care how weird or out-there the premise is.

  26. Actually dosent sound that bad, as long as the werewolves are a secondary story to play with around the main story.
    Native Americans always had some spiritual connections to supernatural.
    Tonto being the main character, even if it’s Depp, sound worst then the werewolves.