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Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger headed into troubled budget-busting territory

Jun. 13, 2012by: Paul Shirey

It looks like Gore Verbinski's THE LONE RANGER, starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, is headed into "over budget" territory, now venturing into the same troubled waters as many films before it, including his own PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN series.  That series was a gamble that paid off, however, and THE LONE RANGER is an as-yet-unproven property for modern day audiences.

If you'll recall, THE LONE RANGER was originally put on hold for budgetary concerns, forcing Verbinski to trim some scenes out of the film to get the budget down from a costly $250 million to a "tight" $215 million.  Now, it appears the film is headed right back up to its original cost, while the shooting schedule falls behind and rewrites get underway.

I can't imagine it's an easy task directing a big-budget tentpole release film, but sometimes you have to question just how much it takes to truly make such a film.  In Gore Verbinski's case, the director opted to have the production "construct its own locomotives from scratch rather than employ existing railroad vehicles."  

Yet with all of these developments, those who have seen the footage already shot are saying Verbinski "has a chance to do for Westerns what he did for pirate movies -- make the genre popular internationally."

Really, this isn't anything new when it comes to mounting a major production.  Many a big budget film has gone through this process and come out on top...and of course, many haven't, including two of this years biggest disappointments in relation to cost; JOHN CARTER and BATTLESHIP, not to mention the recent news about Brad Pitt's WORLD WAR Z going into massive rewrites and reshoots.

So, do you think this is business as usual or an ugly trend for big-budget Hollywood flicks?

THE LONE RANGER is slated to ride into theaters on July 3, 2013. 

Extra Tidbit: I'm all about seeing the money onscreen, but this is cowboys and Indians, right? Am I missing something?

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7:13PM on 06/14/2012
From the failures of John Carter & Battleship, ya would think after this year that studios will take the hint that big isn't always better.

While Battleship certainly deserved to fail in every way cuz it looked like garbage from the get go. It's still shocking a movie based on a 100 year old book bombed. Let's hope the same isn't for Lone Ranger, it looks interesting but i don't like Tonto's look.
From the failures of John Carter & Battleship, ya would think after this year that studios will take the hint that big isn't always better.

While Battleship certainly deserved to fail in every way cuz it looked like garbage from the get go. It's still shocking a movie based on a 100 year old book bombed. Let's hope the same isn't for Lone Ranger, it looks interesting but i don't like Tonto's look.
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3:15AM on 06/14/2012

@extratidbit

Maybe they're planning a cross-over with John Carter who will appear at the climax of this movie being pursued by aliens resulting in a visual-FX orgy assisted by the 3D cameras Cameron used in Avatar and also film the sequel as it seems they are doing it back to back.

Other than that I don't see any clear justification for budget troubles.
Maybe they're planning a cross-over with John Carter who will appear at the climax of this movie being pursued by aliens resulting in a visual-FX orgy assisted by the 3D cameras Cameron used in Avatar and also film the sequel as it seems they are doing it back to back.

Other than that I don't see any clear justification for budget troubles.
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+12
10:16PM on 06/13/2012

geez

If that is production budget alone thats enough to have made - Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, District 9, The Grey, Ed Wood, Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction and Boogie Nights and still have 20+ million left to buy a multiplex and screen them all.
If that is production budget alone thats enough to have made - Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, District 9, The Grey, Ed Wood, Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction and Boogie Nights and still have 20+ million left to buy a multiplex and screen them all.
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8:40PM on 06/13/2012

After this fiasco...

Johnny Depp needs to take a break for awhile. Maybe come back in a couple of years and get back to appearing in smaller indie films. I'd like to see him in more Gilbert Grape roles rather than Burton or Disney films. He's really hurting his acting cred these days.
Johnny Depp needs to take a break for awhile. Maybe come back in a couple of years and get back to appearing in smaller indie films. I'd like to see him in more Gilbert Grape roles rather than Burton or Disney films. He's really hurting his acting cred these days.
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7:21PM on 06/13/2012

What If...

Disney heading for another shellacking with this one, like John Carter?

I'm feeling a disaster coming...please be wrong.
Disney heading for another shellacking with this one, like John Carter?

I'm feeling a disaster coming...please be wrong.
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-11
7:08PM on 06/13/2012
Fuck this movie and fuck Johnny Depp.
Fuck this movie and fuck Johnny Depp.
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8:32PM on 06/13/2012
I think your name is backwards and you are fiendin again
I think your name is backwards and you are fiendin again
7:06PM on 06/13/2012

A box office bomb in the making...

No matter how good this film actually turns out, there's no way it will be a huge domestic hit. Pirates of the Caribbean worked out great for these guys, but I don;t feel they can put it off again. There really aren't that many westerns that make 200+ million dollars, is there?
No matter how good this film actually turns out, there's no way it will be a huge domestic hit. Pirates of the Caribbean worked out great for these guys, but I don;t feel they can put it off again. There really aren't that many westerns that make 200+ million dollars, is there?
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6:18PM on 06/13/2012
I love Verbinski & Depp's collaborations (yes, even the much maligned POTC 3), but honestly speaking, when a budget of 215M is lebeled "Tight" and STILL gets over-budget (FOR A WESTERN!), there has to be something really wrong with todays' Hollywood.
I love Verbinski & Depp's collaborations (yes, even the much maligned POTC 3), but honestly speaking, when a budget of 215M is lebeled "Tight" and STILL gets over-budget (FOR A WESTERN!), there has to be something really wrong with todays' Hollywood.
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+8
5:56PM on 06/13/2012
I thought Westerns were already popular internationally.

I mean how many westerns have the Italians done over the decades? South Korea has dabbled in it, too. I think it's been taken on by Latin American filmmakers as well.

$215 mil is still a ridiculous amount of money.
I thought Westerns were already popular internationally.

I mean how many westerns have the Italians done over the decades? South Korea has dabbled in it, too. I think it's been taken on by Latin American filmmakers as well.

$215 mil is still a ridiculous amount of money.
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5:58PM on 06/13/2012
This just makes me want to watch the Good, the Bad and the Weird again instead
This just makes me want to watch the Good, the Bad and the Weird again instead
5:48PM on 06/13/2012

ummm

i rarely ever bash readers on this site but you guys need to calm down. you're all outraged like this has any effect on your life whatsoever. movies are expensive, and there are a million little things that rack up costs and unless you're a Line Producer or EP, you have no basis on saying "this CAN'T cost that much money". i don't disagree that it seems like this movie's budget doesn't fit what we're seeing on screen, but there are thousands of little things that add up. everyone, simmer down.
i rarely ever bash readers on this site but you guys need to calm down. you're all outraged like this has any effect on your life whatsoever. movies are expensive, and there are a million little things that rack up costs and unless you're a Line Producer or EP, you have no basis on saying "this CAN'T cost that much money". i don't disagree that it seems like this movie's budget doesn't fit what we're seeing on screen, but there are thousands of little things that add up. everyone, simmer down.
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5:52PM on 06/13/2012
No one thinks this effects their life, but the story is about the movie having budget trouble, so makes sense that people would comment on that aspect of it.
No one thinks this effects their life, but the story is about the movie having budget trouble, so makes sense that people would comment on that aspect of it.
5:57PM on 06/13/2012
i don't know... Cochise seems to be taking the news quite hard
i don't know... Cochise seems to be taking the news quite hard
5:59PM on 06/13/2012
Actually, now that you say that, he totally does
Actually, now that you say that, he totally does
-4
4:38PM on 06/13/2012

I love Verbinski and I love Depp

but seriously FUCK THIS MOVIE.

Just screw it, drop it and take the loss already. Verbinski and Depp's talented would be much better spent elsewhere. Whoever's in charge of this movie in terms of money/budget is absolutely retarded as well. It's obviously not Verbinski as he's never had HUGE problems like this before with his features but whoever it is needs to be fired. As you said it's a FUCKING WESTERN the budget really has absolutely NO NEED to even surpass $100 million. It's not Avatar,
but seriously FUCK THIS MOVIE.

Just screw it, drop it and take the loss already. Verbinski and Depp's talented would be much better spent elsewhere. Whoever's in charge of this movie in terms of money/budget is absolutely retarded as well. It's obviously not Verbinski as he's never had HUGE problems like this before with his features but whoever it is needs to be fired. As you said it's a FUCKING WESTERN the budget really has absolutely NO NEED to even surpass $100 million. It's not Avatar, they don't need to create an entire world, it's not The Avengers or The Dark Knight where they're blowing up skyscrapers, football stadiums and the like... it's a god damned western. Just a disgrace.
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3:22PM on 06/13/2012
While I don't agree that nobody cares and nobody wants this movie, I sure as hell agree that there's no reason for it to be this damn expensive. It's a western/adventure flick w/ the addition of a friggin' black mask for God's sake. Is that stupid spider from Wild Wild West going to show up or something?
While I don't agree that nobody cares and nobody wants this movie, I sure as hell agree that there's no reason for it to be this damn expensive. It's a western/adventure flick w/ the addition of a friggin' black mask for God's sake. Is that stupid spider from Wild Wild West going to show up or something?
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3:12PM on 06/13/2012
Sounds like this is going to be nothing more than Pirates in the wild west. Over the top ridiculous action scene upon action scene. No thanks!
Sounds like this is going to be nothing more than Pirates in the wild west. Over the top ridiculous action scene upon action scene. No thanks!
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2:33PM on 06/13/2012
As much as I like Gore Verbinski (Rango ftw) working with Johnny Depp and Disney again, I think he's wasting his time and talents by trying to give Disney their next POTC / big franchise. Disney have been trying way too hard, for way too long, to replicate the success of the POTC series by creating these godzillian-budget blockbusters that eventually tank when they come out. If I were Mr.Verbinski I'd be using my talents to do more projects like Rango. Heck, I'd take Depp along with me again!
As much as I like Gore Verbinski (Rango ftw) working with Johnny Depp and Disney again, I think he's wasting his time and talents by trying to give Disney their next POTC / big franchise. Disney have been trying way too hard, for way too long, to replicate the success of the POTC series by creating these godzillian-budget blockbusters that eventually tank when they come out. If I were Mr.Verbinski I'd be using my talents to do more projects like Rango. Heck, I'd take Depp along with me again!
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2:26PM on 06/13/2012
Well I'm guessing Depp's cheque is sizeable around $20-30 million depending on whether or not he agreed to a cut with the budget. It all adds up when your cast and crew are A-list talent not to mention travel/location budgets, food, studio construction, cameras, sound, VFX, etc.
Well I'm guessing Depp's cheque is sizeable around $20-30 million depending on whether or not he agreed to a cut with the budget. It all adds up when your cast and crew are A-list talent not to mention travel/location budgets, food, studio construction, cameras, sound, VFX, etc.
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4:39PM on 06/13/2012
still should not cost near 200 mil even with all that.
still should not cost near 200 mil even with all that.
-8
2:23PM on 06/13/2012

This movie was a terrible idea since jump...

no one in this generation should give a crap about this character. It's the same reason Green Hornet sucked, and they at least tried to make it modern, this looks like they're going for accuracy to the old character. Disney is dropping a lot of live action bombs lately, and this won't help. It's mind boggling they decided to keep this going after John Carter. And Johnny Depp's star is fading a bit, it's not like Dark Shadows was a massive hit.
no one in this generation should give a crap about this character. It's the same reason Green Hornet sucked, and they at least tried to make it modern, this looks like they're going for accuracy to the old character. Disney is dropping a lot of live action bombs lately, and this won't help. It's mind boggling they decided to keep this going after John Carter. And Johnny Depp's star is fading a bit, it's not like Dark Shadows was a massive hit.
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3:56PM on 06/13/2012
lot of Lone Ranger fans. I'm sure you guys can't wait for the Betty Boop movie.

I guess Disney can continue to make crap like this b/c they have the Avengers cash cow for the next decade.
lot of Lone Ranger fans. I'm sure you guys can't wait for the Betty Boop movie.

I guess Disney can continue to make crap like this b/c they have the Avengers cash cow for the next decade.
2:14PM on 06/13/2012

Cowboys & Aliens production cost 100 million dollars LESS

WHAT THE HIBBEDY HELL CAN THEY BE SHOOTING TO COST THAT MUCH? And having "scratch built locomotives" is not an excuse to go that insanely over budget. 5 million dollars is a fairly conservative estimate for a brand new locomotive, and then how many could you need?

It's gotta still be that damn Werewolves story...
WHAT THE HIBBEDY HELL CAN THEY BE SHOOTING TO COST THAT MUCH? And having "scratch built locomotives" is not an excuse to go that insanely over budget. 5 million dollars is a fairly conservative estimate for a brand new locomotive, and then how many could you need?

It's gotta still be that damn Werewolves story...
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2:22PM on 06/13/2012
I forgot about the f*cking werewolves, but if I remember right a lot of people thought that was a cool idea
I forgot about the f*cking werewolves, but if I remember right a lot of people thought that was a cool idea
2:10PM on 06/13/2012
So Cowboys and Aliens, which albeit was a johnny deppless movie made a smidge over 100 mil (domestically) and they are expecting this to do at least double? I smell disaster, but maybe will be saved by merchandising?
So Cowboys and Aliens, which albeit was a johnny deppless movie made a smidge over 100 mil (domestically) and they are expecting this to do at least double? I smell disaster, but maybe will be saved by merchandising?
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2:07PM on 06/13/2012
Is there even a desire from audiences for a Lone Ranger movie? Especially enough desire to dish out $250 mil?

What's next, a $200 mil 'Gilligan's Island' movie?
Is there even a desire from audiences for a Lone Ranger movie? Especially enough desire to dish out $250 mil?

What's next, a $200 mil 'Gilligan's Island' movie?
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5:53PM on 06/13/2012
I would love a 200 mil gilligans island movie, first half would be perfect storm, second half castaway, but with hotties, sign me up
I would love a 200 mil gilligans island movie, first half would be perfect storm, second half castaway, but with hotties, sign me up
7:51PM on 06/15/2012
You might want to copyright that idea, cause you'll be seeing that movie in the summer of 2014.
You might want to copyright that idea, cause you'll be seeing that movie in the summer of 2014.
1:58PM on 06/13/2012

Extra Tidbit:

yea werewolves!
yea werewolves!
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1:54PM on 06/13/2012
This movie is either going to be a lightening in a bottle success or an unmitigated disaster. There is no in between.
This movie is either going to be a lightening in a bottle success or an unmitigated disaster. There is no in between.
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+23
1:54PM on 06/13/2012
I was thinking the same thing.. is a western! How can it cost "too" much? This smells like the Wild Wild West fiasco already.

How come TV people manage to do amazing things for 10-20+ episodes and these movie people cannot manage to get it under tights for 2 hours? The Walking Dead, Games of Thrones, Spartacus, to name a few are accomplishing great visuals and amazing storytelling and gathering millions of viewers with each episode. They must be doing something right and I must be missing
I was thinking the same thing.. is a western! How can it cost "too" much? This smells like the Wild Wild West fiasco already.

How come TV people manage to do amazing things for 10-20+ episodes and these movie people cannot manage to get it under tights for 2 hours? The Walking Dead, Games of Thrones, Spartacus, to name a few are accomplishing great visuals and amazing storytelling and gathering millions of viewers with each episode. They must be doing something right and I must be missing something here... I just don't get it
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1:58PM on 06/13/2012
Iagree sir, why movies even cost over 100 million dollars I'll never know.
Iagree sir, why movies even cost over 100 million dollars I'll never know.
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