It appears that World War Z is not the only recent big budget film plagued with production woes. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that The Lone Ranger reboot is suffering script, budget, and over-scheduling problems.
Disney had originally wanted to the budget of the Western spectacle starring Johnny Depp to be around $125 million. They were able to do so at first, by scrapping set pieces in addition to Depp and director Gore Verbinski taking pay cuts. However, Verbinski’s budget has already ballooned to $250 million. He is apparently demanding locomotives to be built from scratch and Disney is combating this with re-writes to keep costs down. This is starting to sound like a mini Heaven’s Gate fiasco in the works. In addition, bad weather is destroying the sets, causing the film to be further delayed.
This must all be frighteningly familiar to Johnny Depp, as he was scheduled to appear in a Don Quixote film in 2002. However, bad weather, budget issues and casting problems shelved the project indefinitely.
Disney has a right to be somewhat fearful of the rising costs and the director’s stubbornness. They already could potentially lose $200 million in the wake of the John Carter bomb and that’s not where the similarities end. Both films are based on somewhat outdated material and had similar production issues.
Westerns aren’t particularly in style right now (although Django Unchained may change that) and like John Carter, The Lone Ranger seems like a hard film to market to a broad audience. Thankfully it does have Johnny Depp attached in a starring role, which will surely drive his fans into the theaters.
We will see how it fares next summer but as of now, things aren’t looking good.
The Lone Ranger is expected to hit theaters July 3, 2013.