THR has broken the story that the once-delayed Lone Ranger is once again in budget trouble, which is what originally delayed it. The film has been shooting since March, and was supposed to be wrapping up toward the end of next month, but THR‘s sources indicate the film could be well behind that schedule, and well over the budget of $215 million. The original hold up was to get the movie’s cost down from $250 million, so director Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp took pay cuts to keep some of the F/X heavy action sequences, although reportedly, Verbinski has already had to cut a big train sequence to save costs.
Despite these troubles, many are pointing out the fact that Verbinski went big (and sometimes over budget) on the Pirates of the Caribbean films and those managed to all be major hits grossing billions of dollars despite the large investments by Disney. Which is probably why Disney was pushy with the budget, because they knew Verbinski was going to do what he wanted to do later on anyway, so they wanted to start with the lowest number possible. Word on the set is everyone is happy with how the film looks, and Disney retains the notion that everything is fine with the film, mostly because negative buzz can turn into actual negativity when the film is finally done and sometimes before it’s even seen. With that much money on the line, they need to stay positive, and they obviously believe in the Verbinski/Depp teaming, and have seen the results in the past, so I’m sure ultimately they’re not worried.
However, every movie gets riskier and riskier these days, so I wonder how much rope they’re willing to give Verbinski to get the film done. Only time will tell, as The Lone Ranger isn’t set to be released for another year, on July 13th, 2013, so they should have plenty of time to get the film finished even if it doesn’t finish shooting until August and goes a bit over budget. The film stars Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger, and insiders say the film is expected to do for westerns what Pirates did for the pirate genre, make it generally appealing to the global cinema marketplace to people of all ages.