You may remember that Disney pulled the brakes on The Lone Ranger ahead of filming last year in order to trim the budget down from $250m to $215m. With some salary cutting from Johnny Depp, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and director Gore Verbinski, they managed to lower the budget and filming was allowed to commenced.
All seemed to be going well, but now reports suggest the budget has risen to the pre-delay levels, and shooting is behind schedule.
Insiders say the movie, which began shooting Feb. 28 in New Mexico, is not only running days or possibly weeks behind its 120-day shooting schedule, it’s also over its revised budget. Several sources say the effects-heavy Lone Ranger is now back at its original cost of $250 million, while one source close to the production says it has surpassed that figure.
“It’s up to a number they didn’t want,” says one insider.
Verbinski is again being asked to cut scenes — he already made such sacrifices as losing a major train sequence in the first round of trims — and rewrites are underway, according to a source. (A Disney spokesperson says the $250 million budget number is inaccurate.)
Disney knows first-hand how making a costly movie intended for global appeal can backfire (see John Carter), so new chairman Alan Horn will have a task on his hands to make sure the studio doesn’t make the same mistake again
The rise in budget is apparently due to the construction of period trains instead of making use of existing railroad vehicles, and “severe weather disruptions, including wind and dust storms, that damaged the pricey set”.
It’s not all bad news though. THR say “buzz generated by some who have seen footage say Verbinski has a chance to do for Westerns what he did for pirate movies — make the genre popular internationally”.
In the film Armier Hammer plays the title character and Johnny Depp plays the Ranger’s Native American companion Tonto. Ruth Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, Barry Pepper, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale and William Fichtner also star, and Disney has set the release date for May 31, 2013.