Disney’s The Lone Ranger May Not Be Dead

News has been circulating lately regarding Disney’s Johnny Depp-starring remake The Lone Ranger, which seemed dead in the water due to budget issues. Now, Deadline reports there might be life for the project yet as director Gore Verbinski and Depp will stay closer to Disney’s projected budget of $200 million with a revised budget in the “$215 million range”.

Considering this is a remake of a rather simple-styled TV Western, a budget of $200 million sounds like it would be more than enough for Verbinski and company. That wasn’t the case, and Verbinski et el came back with a projected budget at $275 million. Rumors abounded that the high cost was partly due to a supernatural storyline that would require extensive CGI effects.

This prompted Disney to halt the project, even though they attempted to “work” with the talent by stating that they could compromise and offer a $220 million budget. Now a new budget has been brought back to the table that meets Disney’s requirements. The question remains, will Disney give the project the go ahead considering Verbinski’s hard-lined stance on having enough money to spend on the project and Depp’s statement that he won’t do the film without Verbinski?

I’m sure Disney is loathe to dismiss a project starring their favored child Depp especially as it reunited Verbinski and Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Verbinski is looking pretty good right about now considering his recent positively-reviewed animated flick Rango.

On the other side, Verbinksi and Depp are both willing to work within Disney’s budget, but Verbinski has made it clear he won’t make The Lone Ranger if he can’t have room (financially speaking) to keep the film true to the movie he started out to make.  Which may mean a director going way over budget for his “vision”, or if he does stay under budget a weaker film that doesn’t bring in the box office receipts necessary to turn a profit.

So now Disney has a big decision to make, greenlight the project and count on Depp’s star power to turn a profit despite Verbinski’s propensity to overspend, or kill it completely and possibly alienate Depp in the process. I feel pretty confident Disney will go ahead with the project given Depp’s money-making attributes, though I am dramatically less interested in it now that the supernatural elements (that might otherwise save a boring Western) are being written out of Justin Haythe’s script.

How about you? Let us know your thoughts.