Last month, we reported the surprising news that Disney had pulled the plug on their adaptation of The Lone Ranger due to a ballooning budget of $250 million or more. Now, Deadline claims that after a tough overhaul of the project, the filmmakers can start shooting in January or February. Reworking the film mainly involved trimming the salaries of its main players, Johnny Depp, Gore Verbinski, and Jerry Bruckheimer, while also cutting back on some of the grand spectacle the movie originally featured. Currently the budget stands at $215 million, so while perhaps not a major revamping, it’s enough for Disney to give the film a greenlight. It’s unclear whether The Lone Ranger will retain its release date of December 21, 2012, or move to another spot. While this news isn’t considered official just yet, Disney is expected to make an announcement regarding the film next week.
Back when The Lone Ranger was canceled, many people held up the financial failure of Cowboys & Aliens as a contributing factor to the decision. While that probably was the case, there’s always been the issue of Disney’s other upcoming blockbuster films such as John Carter and Oz: The Great and Powerful, which also have hefty price tags. Consequently, there’s more pressure on these big budget films to succeed. While I’m glad that Verbinski and Depp get to reteam once again, I’m also glad that this rebudgeting has occurred to help keep things under control. I could imagine the previous version of the film having a completely off-the-rails type of storytelling similar to what the Pirates movies became. Of course, it could still end up that way now too. After all, $215 million is still quite a bit to play with. What are your thoughts on the relaunching of The Lone Ranger?