This story first appeared in the June 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When Disney briefly shut down the Johnny Depp Western The Lone Ranger in August amid concerns about a budget that had ballooned to $250 million, the principals — including Depp, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer — agreed to cut action sequences and their own upfront fees to bring the cost down to about $215 million. Well, don’t look now, but Lone Ranger is riding headlong into budget trouble again.
Insiders say the movie, which began shooting Feb. 28 in New Mexico, is not only running days or possibly weeks behind its 120-day shooting schedule, it’s also over its revised budget. Several sources say the effects-heavy Lone Ranger is now back at its original cost of $250 million, while one source close to the production says it has surpassed that figure.
“It’s up to a number they didn’t want,” says one insider.
Verbinski is again being asked to cut scenes — he already made such sacrifices as losing a major train sequence in the first round of trims — and rewrites are underway, according to a source. (A Disney spokesperson says the $250 million budget number is inaccurate.)