The Lone Ranger cliffhanger continues

The Lone Ranger came from the age of cliffhangers, and whether it will make the big screen again or not has become quite a cliffhanger itself.

Hard economic times, and the recent belly flop Cowboys and Aliens took at the box office shut down The Lone Ranger just as the studio was building sets, with Disney telling director Gore Verbinski he needs to seriously trim the budget, or the movie won’t get made.

There’s been speculation on Deadline and elsewhere that Disney was thinking of moving ahead without Verbinski, because he stubbornly won’t back down from expensive costs when he feels they can make a movie more spectacular.

Now Deadline reports that Johnny Depp won’t make the movie without Verbinski, as they’ve worked together on the Pirates movies and Rango together.

And with the success of the Pirates flicks, as well as Alice In Wonderland, Depp is now apparently the biggest star in Hollywood, and can flex his muscles if he wants to.


Meanwhile, Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have gone back to the studio with a new, revised budget – about $215 million down from $275 mil. Disney was hoping for $200 million, but the company did say that $220 million would be a compromise they could make. Depp and the gang have also deferred some of their fees, which took off about $30 million of the film’s budget.

You may recall this all happened before with Bruckheimer, Disney and Pearl Harbor; and one of the most famous examples of people having to defer their fees to get a movie made was Minority Report, which was stuck in development hell for years before Cruise and Spielberg took chunks out of their pay to bring the budget way down. 

Will this big screen incarnation of The Lone Ranger finally make it? Well, Disney will obviously have to make a decision soon, so stay tuned.