Bruckheimer, Verbinksi Present Revised $215 Million 'Lone Ranger' to Disney

Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer will present their revised budget/vision for The Lone Ranger, which Disney put the brakes on a few weeks ago when the budget skyrocketed toward $275 million. According to Deadline, Verbinski and Bruckheimer are said to have trimmed the budget down to $215 million, which is still not the $200 million total Disney was hoping for but is below the $220 million compromise the studio was willing to work with.

As an added monkey wrench in this ongoing saga, Johnny Depp has said that he will leave the project if Verbinski doesn’t direct. Though Depp has said he really wants to make The Lone Ranger happen, he’s showing loyalty to Verbinski with whom he’s made three successful Pirates of the Caribbean pictures along with this year’s Oscar animated feature frontrunner Rango. Anybody can tell you Depp is one of the biggest box office draws right now, having two $1 billion movies to his credit (Alice in Wonderland and Pirates 4)
If Disney wants to keep Depp (which they do), they’ll have to keep Verbinski on as director and somehow work with the $200 million plus budget he and Bruckheimer are proposing. Verbinski is notorious for holding his ground when it comes to budgets but may have to give a little considering the Western genre doesn’t perform well internationally. In a DVD-VOD world, a $275 million film needs to gross three times its budget to earn out and that can’t be done without a significant foreign box office.
Verbinski and Bruckheimer have toned down some of the budget-busting scenes. The duo, along with Depp, have also been discussing ways to defer their upfront paydays. Salary for each looks to be about $30 million or more.
The other issue at hand is the release date, with a Disney insider stating, “Shooting wasn’t starting for quite a few more weeks so we didn’t think a definitive answer was necessary. But it’s harder to get a good release date that it is to move it.” The Lone Ranger was planned to be released on December 21, 2012, smack against The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 14) and Brad Pitt’s World War Z (December 21).
No word on whether the CGI werewolves have been cut out, but we’re sure to hear Disney’s verdict soon. Does a $215 million budget for a Western seem excessive to you (keep in mind this is a flashy Jerry Bruckheimer production) and if you were Disney, would you tell Verbinski to make more cuts?
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