Disney Kills ‘The Lone Ranger’ (at least for now…)

Lone Ranger Logo

First off, I didn’t even know Disney had a Lone Ranger movie in the pipeline…

That news was brought to my attention today at the same time that I leaned the nascent project was being shut down by the Mouse House over budgetary concerns. According to the Los Angeles Times, the budget for the Johnny Depp starrer was in the neighborhood of $250 million, with Disney trying to wrangle the price down to around $210 million. Besides Depp, also attached to this project was Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski, producer and director, respectively, of the first three Pirates of the Carribbean films (Bruckheimer went on to produce the fourth as well; Verbinski was replaced as director of the most recent installment), a franchise that, to date, has pulled down a modest, piddling $3.7 Billion at the box office.

Now, I personally think $250 is way too much for a Lone Ranger film, but when taken into consideration the rumors of the film incorporating supernatural elements (werewolves?!), I can see how the bottom line could swell so large. But, given the track record of the three men attached to the project, I’d say “let it ride.” The movie would make that money back – if it’s any good – but I guess the profit margin wouldn’t be enough. Why make $795 million when we could make $835 million?

I read a few comments from moviegoers (at least I think they were – can’t really tell on the ‘net) who championed Disney’s “frugality.” I’m on the other side of the fence. Sure, we’re talking a $40 million difference, but with THREE films this year hitting $1 billion at the global box office (one of which was, ahem, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES), I’m pretty sure a project of this magnitude, name recognition and star power would do just fine. And if the added budget results in a truly kick-ass moviegoing experience – and make the money – then as Martin Lawrence-via-NATIONAL SECURITY would say, “What the problem is?”

To be frank, I was more annoyed by the choice of Depp to play Tonto, who, according to the article, would be the center of the story, as opposed to, I don’t know, the Lone Ranger (can you imagine a Batman film centered on Robin? Just sayin.’). Don’t get me wrong, I love Depp, but I immediately rolled my eyes. “Here we go again. Another white man playing a role that should be played by a minority actor (cough – THE LAST AIRBENDER and PRINCE OF PERSIA, among others – cough).” But a bit of research cleared that up: Mr. Depp is, in part, Native American. A small part – but part nonetheless. I’ll back down now.

THE LONE RANGER isn’t the only casualty of Hollywood’s recent rash of cutbacks. A film adaptation of the hugely-popular video game Halo (never played it), to be helmed by none other than geek demi-god Peter Jackson, and USED GUYS, a comedy starring Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller (would’ve LOVED to see that!), are among the long list of movies deep-sixed by studios looking to save a buck or two (million). I get that Hollywood wants to be fiscally responsible, but when movies that actually pique my interest get tombstoned while crap like THE SMURFS and BATTLESHIP gets pushed out like pus from a pimple, I can’t help but be a little bit bitchy…

Still, if Hollywood wants to produce a movie with werewolves in it that bad, I have a screenplay called LUPUS MOON they can take a look at. Has a ton of action in it and wouldn’t cost anywhere close to $250 million.

Just sayin.’

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