Last week Walt Disney Pictures stopped production on the big-budget adventure Lone Ranger, due to the budget ballooning to nearly $250 million. It seems the project isn't completely dead, though, since the studio has granted director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer one more week to try and get the budget down significantly.
It is believed that the sizable budget gap can only be cleared if Gore Verbinski re-imagines some of the larger sequences, and if key cast members take a pay cut. Even Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer have given up $10 million combined from their fees, but it still isn't enough. The budget currently sits between $242 million and $244 million, although Disney wants the budget between $215 million and $220 million. Here's what an insider had to say about the budget trimming.
"It all starts with [Verbinski]. If there is any saving this version of the movie, he'll have to find substantial savings. If he can, maybe we can hold this together."
We also reported last week that CGI werewolves and other supernatural elements were a big factor in the budget spiraling out of control. Now it seems those elements have been discarded, although there are still monstrous set pieces which remain, including a train sequence which is described as the biggest train scene in cinematic history.
There is also the possibility that Disney may replace director Gore Verbinski and rework the screenplay, although they could risk losing Johnny Depp by doing so. As it stands right now, barring a budgeting miracle or directorial replacement, it seems Lone Ranger won't be riding into theaters anytime soon.