Disney Getting Back In The Saddle With Johnny Depp's The Lone Ranger

By Sean O'Connell 2011-09-23 16:17:04discussion comments
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It sounds like Disney’s about to get back in the saddle with Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger, with an official announcement regarding the start of production potentially arriving next week.

If you haven’t been tracking the progress of the project, Disney pulled the plug on the Johnny Depp-Armie Hammer production weeks ago as budgets ballooned near $250 million. Reports surrounding the troubled production involved strange supernatural subplots tied to Depp’s Tonto character. One rumor even involved CGI werewolves which have subsequently been cut.

Last week, though, it was reported that Disney was inching closer to closing a deal that would put The Lone Ranger back into production, and now Deadline says that the stalemate likely will be resolved next week, with cameras rolling as early as January or February 2012.

The new budget, according to the report, is closer to $215 million after deals for Depp, Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer were reworked. Disney’s hesitancy was tied, at the time, to the financial failure of Universal’s costly Cowboys & Aliens, which the site admits is going to cost the studio a "fortune" when all is said and done. Still, it was shocking that Disney would flinch on anything Verbinski and Depp wished to do together after the duo helped deliver the lucrative Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.

So, it sounds like The Lone Ranger is back on track. If the main players cut tighter deals, hopefully that means Verbinski can keep in some of the mystical elements that potentially would make the Wild West production a bit weird. There’s no confirmation if Disney’s back-and-forth means the film will back off of its previously announced Dec. 21, 2012 release date (where it would have gone head-to-head with Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and Brad Pitt’s World War Z). Disney move the release date back much like Warner Bros. did with its anticipated Superman reboot, Man of Steel. We’ll let you know the minute we hear any news regarding date shifts but for now, it looks like the Lone Ranger rides again. Are you happy?
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