Aug 15, 2011

UPDATED! Now With Werewolves! Lone Ranger Files For Bankruptcy

UPDATE!  Mystery solved.  Seems that someone remembered that the Lone Ranger used silver bullets, so naturally that meant there should be werewolves in this movie.  Thus Verbinski's inability to bring the budget under $200 million.  Apparently the werewolves were to be tied in closely to Native American mythology, in which the film was to be firmly rooted.  Despite the title, Depp's Tonto would have been the real lead (we've heard this for a while) and apparently Depp wanted to play him very seriously, essentially the antithesis of the flamboyant Jack Sparrow.  While that at least makes some semblance of sense, it doesn't make the idea any less terrible.  I feel like I should send Jon Favreau a thank you note, as the box office failure of Cowboys & Aliens is now almost surely what brought this project to a screeching halt.

In case you didn't know it, the economy is somewhat struggling these days and Hollywood is not immune to that struggle.  First the Guillermo del Toro-produced, Tom Cruise-starring, H.P. Lovecraft-based At The Mountains Of Madness crumbled.  Then the Ron Howard-directed, Javier Bardem-starring, Stephen King-based Dark Tower series fell.  Now Disney's Jerry Bruckheimer-produced, Gore Verbinski-directed, Johnny Depp-starring adaptation of The Lone Ranger has toppled off his horse.

Honestly, color me shocked.  Despite Pirates 4 being a huge steaming pile, it's still made Disney an official metric crap-ton of cash worldwide this summer, so I would think that the Mouse House would bending over backwards to make this thing happen.  Disney cited a $250 million price tag as the main reason, but that sounds like a crock to me.  Seriously, how does a Lone Ranger movie cost that much money?  A western action/comedy with Depp as Tonto to Armie Hammer's Lone Ranger?  There's no way there was a heavy effects budget, and they it's not like Hammer was drawing a huge paycheck.  

I think there was some kind of other monkeywrench in the gears here (weak script?) and then Disney saw Cowboys & Aliens crash and burn and the Magic Kingdom decided to cut bait.  It's a shame, because casting Armie Hammer as the somewhat dim, good looking masked cowboy hero sounded more than a little brilliant.  There's still a chance that Verbinksi and company regroup and bring the project elsewhere, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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