When you have Johnny Depp, aka the billion dollar box office guarantee, atop the marquee, you’d think $50 million isn’t that much to haggle over. Regardless, Disney studios has halted production on “The Lone Ranger” in an effort to shave said sum off the reported $250 million budget.
Director Gore Verbinski is known for his lavish budget affairs and did not direct the last Pirates Of The Caribbean movie for that reason (he still produced it). Nothing against Rob Marshall, who did direct Pirates 4, you have to wonder if Verbinski’s bigger budget might have been able to coax more out of the box office. But that’s not the type of bet Hollywood pencil pushers are paid to make. Instead, they want to keep a line on costs and act pleasantly surprised when the film makes a profit despite the austerity program (gee, where else have I seen that failure of a philosophy in action?).
Long Ranger was to be an update on the original story with more comedy added in. Johnny Depp would be Tonto and Armie Hammer as the title character. The stoppage does not mean curtains for the whole production. But unless some agreement in reached soon, it’s likely Depp will just move on to the next movie offer (his mailbox must be overflowing with them).
I have to wonder, if you can’t make back $250 million budget with Johnny Depp in the movie, can any film justify that cost?