When we last tuned in to the saga of Disney’s The Lone Ranger, the fate of the film was in doubt as director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer were working frantically to get the budget down from a projected $250 million to a more manageable from the studio standpoint $215 million. It appears as if they may have done so as Deadline is reporting from unnamed sources that all issues could be resolved by as early as next week, allowing for the go ahead to begin re-hiring crew members and getting the film in front of cameras next January or February.
Based on the classic radio series and subsequent television show, The Lone Ranger has been in development at Disney for several years with Johnny Depp attached to play Tonto. Depp was so keen to work with his Pirates Of The Caribbean collaborator Verbinski again that he hinted that if the director left the project over the recent budget battle with the studio, he would walk from the project as well. Since Depp’s participation was a key reason in the studio’s eyes for making the film, it appears as if they were willing to work with Verbinski to arrive at a price tag for the project that would be agreeable to everyone.
Armie Hammer is still set to star in the film as the masked Texas Ranger who fights for justice after his lawman brother is savagely gunned down by outlaws.
How the later than originally planned production start will affect Disney’s intention to release the film on December 12, 2012 remains to be seen. It is possible that rather than rush things, they will push the film’s opening back into 2013, though that would leave them without a blockbuster to roll out during the holiday season.
The Lone Ranger is one of three upcoming blockbusters that Disney is heavily betting on. Their live-action adaption of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s pulp hero John Carter which is set to come out next March is looking to cost some $250 million or more while Sam Raimi’s Oz, The Great And Powerful currently in production seems like a bargain with only a $200 million price tag.