How The Lone Ranger Almost Blew $10 Million Through Stupidity

By Eric Eisenberg 2011-10-19 14:19:31discussion comments
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At this point many of you, if not most of you, know about the troubles going on behind the scenes of The Lone Ranger these past few months. Back in August the production was shut down when Disney decided that they didn't want to spend $250 million making a western (which is totally reasonable thing) and had producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp work on the movie to try and lower its costs. The proper moves and cuts were made and in the last couple weeks it was announced that the project will be moving forward with a $215 million budget and is now scheduled to be released on May 21, 2013. But exactly what changes were made that equated to $35 million in saved moolah? Bruckheimer recently spoke with THR about it and the answer is actually kind of disturbing.

While the producer did say that some scenes were cut - including a sequence involving "supernatural coyotes" and an "animated segment" - the big thing that ended up being changed was the production schedule. Bruckheimer said that they would be trying to avoid winter by having the production hop around to different states (including alifornia, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah), but that's not what's messed up about this story. According to the interview, one thing that has been changed is the structuring of shooting days, bunching together the scenes involving a lot of extras and the ones involving just the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Said Bruckheimer,
If we had a big crowd scene and then the next day we were shooting just Tonto and the Lone Ranger, we still had the crew "on" because you have them weekly. So we bunched the sequences that were big together, and for the smaller scenes [we] laid off the extras, the effects people, the makeup people. It costs an enormous amount with 150 extras on the set. It's not the extras, it's the people that support the extras. You're still carrying all the wardrobe, makeup and hair people. We bunched together scenes with Tonto and the Lone Ranger, so we had a much smaller crew. We saved about $10 million just by doing that.

The big question I have is why the hell was this not the plan from the beginning? If they hadn't been forced to change things, they would have poured $10 million down the toilet simply by avoiding common sense. We are living in a time of economic crisis, as protesters occupy cities around the country, and these people are basically setting money on fire. What truly worries me is the fact that Bruckheimer treats this as though it's some kind of big revelation. Exactly how long has he been making movies in such an abhorrently wasteful fashion? This level of stupidity cannot continue.
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