Rumor: Lone Ranger is back on track

Disney’s fantasy adaptation of the classic story has apparently been resurrected from its very real budget woes.

According to Deadline’s undisclosed source, Disney is soon to announce that they have come to a new budget agreement for their production of The Lone Ranger, an adaptation of the classic radio and television story with a fantasy twist.

We reported over a month ago that the film had been canceled due to financial strain. Director Gore Verbinski had already finalized the shooting script and signed on his lead actors, Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp – both of which have to be paid whether the project goes further or not. 

It seemed that Disney simply decided that they had too many risky films currently in production from John Carter, which is in its final stages of post-production to their new Cinderella adaptation, which still does not even have a director.

They also have The Order of the Seven – their new Snow White adaptation – on the way, and Sam Raimi is working on Oz: The Great and Powerful – one of two new Oz adaptations which are currently filming.

There was a lot of speculation at the time that it was the relative earnings failure of Cowboys & Aliens, another western/fantasy film which had been released recently, though no representatives of Disney have indicated that this is the cause.

It seems more likely that they simply decided that Verbinski was over-budgeting, planning for too many special effects scenes. The new budget has been forcibly cut by about 20% (from about $250m to $200m). Hopefully Verbinski and his team will still be able to make the film mostly the way they want to with a lower budget.

Even if they get started on production as soon as they can, probably the beginning of next year, it’s unlikely that The Lone Ranger will hit its original release date during next year’s holiday season. I would expect it in the 2013 summer blockbuster season.