Back in June we learned that the new film version of the Lone Ranger — which stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer — would be hitting theaters in December 2012. Shortly thereafter, Disney decided to pull the plug on the film because the cost of production was too high. After some wrangling, the Lone Ranger budget got cut enough so that Disney could green-light the film again … and it now has a new release date of May 2013. Happy Days, y’all … the Lone Ranger will ride again!
Maybe there’ll be a little less silver in those bullets, but The Lone Ranger has cut costs enough for Disney to give the movie the green light. Disney announced today that the film is back on track, and the new release date is May 31, 2013. “Johnny Depp, Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski are such a talented combination and we’re thrilled to get back to work with them on The Lone Ranger,” Disney said in a statement. The update on the classic cowboy epic was set to star The Social Network’s Armie Hammer in the title role and Johnny Depp as Indian scout Tonto, but when the budget soared to $250-million-plus, and Universal/DreamWorks’ Cowboys & Aliens underperformed at the box office, studio heads cried “Whoa!” In mid-August, two months before shooting was set to begin, the film faced the possibility of being scrapped completely. Since then, director Gore Verbinski (the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies) and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have been negotiating with the studio in a bid to lower projected costs to a more manageable $215 million and keep the movie alive. The script, which adds heavy supernatural elements to the Western, was tweaked to reduce visual effects costs, and the stars are said to have accepted upfront salary concessions (likely to be repaid on the back end if the movie is a hit.) The current target is for a February start date
I mean … c’mon, there was no way this movie was going to be cancelled. Still, it makes sense that Disney would want to keep costs from escalating. If you look at how much Cowboys & Aliens bombed at the box office this Summer, you can understand how a movie studio might not want to invest too much money in another Western film. I’m not a big Lone Ranger fan but I’m curious about this film … let’s not forget, Armie Hammer will play the Lone Ranger while Johnny Depp will play the sidekick Tonto. I mean … I might have to see this movie.