Looks like Johnny Depp will have to forgo playing a Native American and continue portraying Captain Jack Sparrow for Disney. It was recently announced that the big budget remake of The Lone Ranger has been scrapped by Walt Disney Pictures.
The film – which would have been produced by Disney’s fave producer Jerry Bruckheimer – was to star Depp as Tonto, Armie Hamer (The Social Network) as The Lone Ranger, and would have been directed by Gore Verbinski who brought us the first three Pirate films and Rango.
How big was the budget on this Western saga? Would you believe upwards of $200 million or more? Yes, that’s right, and I wonder how a Western can have that huge a price tag, when most of the recent effects heavy superhero flicks haven’t cost nearly that much. What exactly would The Lone Ranger be fighting? Aliens?
Oh, wait, that was just done and not very successfully. Cowboys and Aliens was made for an estimated $163 million (holy crap!) and has only brought in $73 million. Not a good sign for other big budget Westerns.
This massive amount of money is the primary reason the movie has been scrapped. You’d think they’d figure out a way to cut costs, especially if Disney was eyeing the property as another possible franchise. And with Depp involved, I’m sure it would have made a ton of money. But Verbinski refused to cut the budget, and cancellation was the result.
Still, how many kids and teens know who The Lone Ranger is? He is a character that was popular on radio in the 30s and 40s, and on TV in the 50s, 60s, but would the Disney audience flock to see it now? How many kids have seen and even enjoy Westerns? Would Johnny Depp have the star power he does as Jack Sparrow to get audiences excited and into theaters to watch him play a Native American sidekick?
I guess for now we’ll never know. Does this mean the end for the movie? I doubt it. If Disney believes in the property and things get better with the economy, or they can slash the budget in some way that won’t piss off the director, they might make another go at it. After all, the next Bond movie was cancelled and then restarted, so what’s to say the same couldn’t happen here?
In an era of remakes, adaptations, and sequels it’s only a matter of time before some other film takes The Lone Ranger’s place on Disney’s slate. Heck, for the budget of this movie they could do two or three smaller films and probably make more back in the long run.
Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure that Johnny Depp isn’t hurting financially and with three upcoming movies in the works – Dark Shadows, The Rum Diary, 21 Jump Street – you’ll be able to get your Depp fix in theaters soon enough.
Do you think Disney did a smart think by pulling the plug on The Lone Ranger? Leave a comment and let us know!