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Disney pulls the plug on Gore Verbinski's insanely expensive Lone Ranger movie

08.15.2011

Somewhat surprisingly, Deadline is reporting that Disney has pulled the plug on their huge Gore Verbinski/Johnny Depp 2012 tentpole project, THE LONE RANGER, a film that was reportedly going to cost somewhere in the ballpark of $250 million! Wait, WTF?!

While studios pulling the plug on big expensive films is nothing new, the surprise here is that Disney would balk at what would have been the return of the original PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN team - Depp, Verbinski, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer - after that franchise has already brought boatloads of cash to the Mouse House from around the world (and that's not to mention the even more successful latest entry, ON STRANGER TIDES, which is already the 8th highest grossing film of all-time). Reportedly, Disney wanted the film's budget dropped to $200 million, but the filmmakers could apparently only get it down to around 230. This leads to the second issue here...

WHY IN THE WORLD IS A LONE RANGER FILM COSTING 200 WHATEVER F*CKING MILLION DOLLARS?

According to Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere, an insider is saying that the reason the budget's so insanely high is because "It was always going to be a big Bruckheimer CG movie with traditional Bruckheimer elements with an eye toward being a tentpole, totally Pirates-style."

"It was going to be a Tonto show mainly. Tonto as the top dog and more dominant than the Lone Ranger [played by THE SOCIAL NETWORK's Armie Hammer]. Tonto and the Indian spirits like Obi Wan Kenobi and the force. The driving engine was going to be Native American occult aspects worked in with werewolves and special effects. But flavored with doses of Native American spirituality in a serious way."


Werewolves? You nerd-baiting hacks!

Then the insider gives what's probably the most common sense reason why THE LONE RANGER is now kaput:

"But then Cowboys & Aliens came along and tanked and Disney got cold tenderfeet, spooked by the idea of a pricey mashup. If Cowboys & Aliens had made $200 million, this wouldn't be happening. A Bruckheimer-style western in the wake of Cowboys & Aliens is nothing anyone is feeling secure about at this stage. Trust me, the writers of tentpole garbage are all scared now."

All involved really want to see THE LONE RANGER get made, so expect to see the film either go to another studio or else head back to the writing stage in an attempt to lower its budget. Whatever happens, I kind of see this and the failure of COWBOYS & ALIENS as mini-victories of sorts that will hopefully push movie studios into making more intelligent fiscal decisions with what films get the green light and which do not. In a perfect world, this would mean better films for us, the audience.
Extra Tidbit: I feel like we've all at one point or another thought that budgets for films are way too high for their own good, but does it seem like Hollywood's current business model is approaching some sort of breaking point?

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11:53AM on 08/16/2011
Disney is money oriented. It's all about the Benjamins, and unfortunately the last "western", Cowboys and Aliens, tanked. Disney doesn't care that Depp has more than 1 billion dollar franchise, or even that he costs $25 million dollars and 10% of back end. They just care about how much money THEY will make. It's a percentage. The Lone Ranger doesn't have the range of Alice in Wonderland. Maybe Johnny will stop being a slave to "Disney" now.
Disney is money oriented. It's all about the Benjamins, and unfortunately the last "western", Cowboys and Aliens, tanked. Disney doesn't care that Depp has more than 1 billion dollar franchise, or even that he costs $25 million dollars and 10% of back end. They just care about how much money THEY will make. It's a percentage. The Lone Ranger doesn't have the range of Alice in Wonderland. Maybe Johnny will stop being a slave to "Disney" now.
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1:35AM on 08/16/2011
Well I guess get Depp out of there. You probably already save 25M$.
Then get rid of the stupid cgi. It's a western, not a superhero or a pirate movie. You don't need cgi (except maybe to get rid of electrical wires and highways in the background). You save what, a good couple millions again.
Then make this movie about THE Lone Ranger. Not his sidekick. It's called the Lone Ranger, not Tonto.
And werewolves? What the freaking fuck??? I love monsters but again, it's a Lone Ranger movie. I
Well I guess get Depp out of there. You probably already save 25M$.
Then get rid of the stupid cgi. It's a western, not a superhero or a pirate movie. You don't need cgi (except maybe to get rid of electrical wires and highways in the background). You save what, a good couple millions again.
Then make this movie about THE Lone Ranger. Not his sidekick. It's called the Lone Ranger, not Tonto.
And werewolves? What the freaking fuck??? I love monsters but again, it's a Lone Ranger movie. I guess I'm happy Cowboy & Aliens bombed!
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7:54PM on 08/15/2011

WTF

How the Hell can a Lone Ranger flick cost so damn much, I mean all they need is a few horses ( they don't get paid) a feather for Tonto and a mask for Lone. Chuck in some guns and that's pretty much it. I love movies but I don't see how some of these actors can get paid such ridiculus amounts of dollar$ to basically lie.
How the Hell can a Lone Ranger flick cost so damn much, I mean all they need is a few horses ( they don't get paid) a feather for Tonto and a mask for Lone. Chuck in some guns and that's pretty much it. I love movies but I don't see how some of these actors can get paid such ridiculus amounts of dollar$ to basically lie.
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+11
2:37PM on 08/15/2011

250 Million?!

Why is the Lone Ranger focused on Tonto and serious inspections of Native American spirituality. The premise sounds good enough. But if you want a movie about a native american, don't make the Lone Ranger.
Why is the Lone Ranger focused on Tonto and serious inspections of Native American spirituality. The premise sounds good enough. But if you want a movie about a native american, don't make the Lone Ranger.
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12:57PM on 08/15/2011
bummer! I wanted to see Johnny Depp as Tonto. I hope this gets made.
bummer! I wanted to see Johnny Depp as Tonto. I hope this gets made.
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+0
12:50PM on 08/15/2011
Pulled the plugged is kind of an overstatement I think. They just want a reduced budget, which they will no doubt get. So, I don't think the film is going anywhere. I would really find it hard to believe that a Disney film with such a cast and crew would get canned. We just have to wait a little while.
Pulled the plugged is kind of an overstatement I think. They just want a reduced budget, which they will no doubt get. So, I don't think the film is going anywhere. I would really find it hard to believe that a Disney film with such a cast and crew would get canned. We just have to wait a little while.
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12:46PM on 08/15/2011
Why such a big budget? Really. There are great films out there that doesn't cost anywhere near 250 million, and they're more valuable in the long run.

And Brucheimer is always wanting CGI in his shit. Why can't the stuntmen and women get more shine?
Why such a big budget? Really. There are great films out there that doesn't cost anywhere near 250 million, and they're more valuable in the long run.

And Brucheimer is always wanting CGI in his shit. Why can't the stuntmen and women get more shine?
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12:01PM on 08/15/2011

CGI in westerns

I think this was smart. A summer western where the Lone Ranger's core revenge story takes backseat to Tonto and some CGI werewolves? Sounds more awkward a story than Cowboys & Aliens was. And leave CGI out of westerns! Now knowing where they were going with project I'm not going to miss it. I'll just watch Dead Man instead.
I think this was smart. A summer western where the Lone Ranger's core revenge story takes backseat to Tonto and some CGI werewolves? Sounds more awkward a story than Cowboys & Aliens was. And leave CGI out of westerns! Now knowing where they were going with project I'm not going to miss it. I'll just watch Dead Man instead.
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+8
11:43AM on 08/15/2011
Why can't they make this with Indiana Jones style stunts? It would be much more enjoyable to watch and far more economical to make. I mean this was originally a Saturday morning serial was it not?
Why can't they make this with Indiana Jones style stunts? It would be much more enjoyable to watch and far more economical to make. I mean this was originally a Saturday morning serial was it not?
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10:21AM on 08/15/2011
Glad this got shit-canned. Another movie that would obviously take a shot at an American icon only because he's white.
Glad this got shit-canned. Another movie that would obviously take a shot at an American icon only because he's white.
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12:24AM on 08/16/2011
what does this even mean? That the lone ranger is getting the back burner because hes white? Clarify this for me will you....
what does this even mean? That the lone ranger is getting the back burner because hes white? Clarify this for me will you....
+23
10:13AM on 08/15/2011
If Rise of the Apes was made for $90 million, then yeah, that seems ridiculous. Can't say I was looking forward to this anyway.
If Rise of the Apes was made for $90 million, then yeah, that seems ridiculous. Can't say I was looking forward to this anyway.
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9:57AM on 08/15/2011
Disney.....Why the fuck do you need 250 MILLION DOLLARS to make a western movie?
Disney.....Why the fuck do you need 250 MILLION DOLLARS to make a western movie?
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9:19AM on 08/15/2011
This movie sounded horrible. Tonto as more of the badass than The Lone Ranger? Horrible idea.
This movie sounded horrible. Tonto as more of the badass than The Lone Ranger? Horrible idea.
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+7
9:10AM on 08/15/2011
This flicks sounds like it would have been horrible. And for 250 mil? hahaha

As for Depp, for my money, that man hasn't had an all around good movie since Finding Neverland.
This flicks sounds like it would have been horrible. And for 250 mil? hahaha

As for Depp, for my money, that man hasn't had an all around good movie since Finding Neverland.
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8:17AM on 08/15/2011
Werewolves? Really?
If you're gonna make a Lone Ranger movie, make a damn Lone Ranger movie, otherwise don't bother. Sounds like this movie was fixin' to become the next Wild Wild West if that report is true.
Werewolves? Really?
If you're gonna make a Lone Ranger movie, make a damn Lone Ranger movie, otherwise don't bother. Sounds like this movie was fixin' to become the next Wild Wild West if that report is true.
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8:16AM on 08/15/2011

Lol....

They all keep trying to shoot for another PIRATES trilogy but it will not happen so soon. Here's the secret that made the first PIRATES movie so successful allowing the big trilogy...good writing.
They all keep trying to shoot for another PIRATES trilogy but it will not happen so soon. Here's the secret that made the first PIRATES movie so successful allowing the big trilogy...good writing.
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8:05AM on 08/15/2011
Maybe they think of how much it cost to make Green Lantern movie which eventually made them pulled the plug.
Maybe they think of how much it cost to make Green Lantern movie which eventually made them pulled the plug.
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7:25AM on 08/15/2011
"...the writers of tentpole garbage are all scared now." Glad to know this! Hope itīs true.
"...the writers of tentpole garbage are all scared now." Glad to know this! Hope itīs true.
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6:39AM on 08/15/2011

ROFL $200mil but not $30mil more?!!

I think it's hilarious that a mere $30million shied Disney away from budget agreement. HAHAHA! Even funnier is that if the director and Depp alone agreed to a paycut and a possibly lucrative post-recouped percentage, this wouldn't be as big an issue. CLASSIC!
I think it's hilarious that a mere $30million shied Disney away from budget agreement. HAHAHA! Even funnier is that if the director and Depp alone agreed to a paycut and a possibly lucrative post-recouped percentage, this wouldn't be as big an issue. CLASSIC!
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+11
6:28AM on 08/15/2011
BTW, I feel bad for Armie Hammer - he would have made a good lead as The Lone Ranger. But as stillwater79 and this article mentioned, Johnny Depp would overshadow him.
BTW, I feel bad for Armie Hammer - he would have made a good lead as The Lone Ranger. But as stillwater79 and this article mentioned, Johnny Depp would overshadow him.
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+9
6:25AM on 08/15/2011
I do agree on how on earth could something cost more than 200M? Maybe for sure franchises like Harry Potter or Pirates (altough unlike the previous Pirate movies, I couldn't see where the money went on #4). Be a little creative People! District 9, Super 8 were made under 40M and they were all spectacular!
I do agree on how on earth could something cost more than 200M? Maybe for sure franchises like Harry Potter or Pirates (altough unlike the previous Pirate movies, I couldn't see where the money went on #4). Be a little creative People! District 9, Super 8 were made under 40M and they were all spectacular!
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5:47AM on 08/15/2011

Meh

Disney needs to roll out some original concepts, instead of piggybacking on franchises of the past. I love Johnny Depp, but with ALICE IN WONDERLAND and now this, his casting seems to overshadow his lesser-known costars. Why can't he play a role that's the lead instead of stealing franchises from the main characters?
Disney needs to roll out some original concepts, instead of piggybacking on franchises of the past. I love Johnny Depp, but with ALICE IN WONDERLAND and now this, his casting seems to overshadow his lesser-known costars. Why can't he play a role that's the lead instead of stealing franchises from the main characters?
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8:14AM on 08/15/2011
That's exactly how I felt about Alice in Wonderland. It was just another Depp/Burton vehicle with vague references and characters from the original material thrown in. Very disappointing.
That's exactly how I felt about Alice in Wonderland. It was just another Depp/Burton vehicle with vague references and characters from the original material thrown in. Very disappointing.
+13
5:45AM on 08/15/2011

thank god

even though a gore, and johnny reteam woulda been cool, they seriously gotta stop paying actors so much. i mean seriously depp does not need 20M dollars. thats why movies cost so much, i mean sure there are other factors but the bulk is how much they pay the stars. depp is complacent because now the only people who can afford him will throw him in the same role. lower your price and stop trying to make 20M a picture ask for 5 and a piece of the gross. its a better payoff in the long term
even though a gore, and johnny reteam woulda been cool, they seriously gotta stop paying actors so much. i mean seriously depp does not need 20M dollars. thats why movies cost so much, i mean sure there are other factors but the bulk is how much they pay the stars. depp is complacent because now the only people who can afford him will throw him in the same role. lower your price and stop trying to make 20M a picture ask for 5 and a piece of the gross. its a better payoff in the long term because a movies logevity is really found in home entertainment than the movie theatre.
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5:20AM on 08/15/2011
Whatever it takes to get Depp back to doing smaller films that have a soul. I miss Depp the risk-taker.
BTW: Depp was 'pay or play' on this project, so he still gets his $20+ million salary.
Whatever it takes to get Depp back to doing smaller films that have a soul. I miss Depp the risk-taker.
BTW: Depp was 'pay or play' on this project, so he still gets his $20+ million salary.
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