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film news

Disney pulls the plug on Depp's Lone Ranger

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Saturday, August 13, 2011

The big news story of the weekend (at least, so far) is that Walt Disney Pictures just axed plans to make Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer and under the direction of Gore Verbinksi (the director of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy).

Why? Because of the movie's price. According to Deadline, this thing was going to cost Disney $250 million dollars to make -- and that's before Disney would have to spend more money to market and promote the picture. Deadline's Fleming said that Lone Ranger's budget could even swell up to $275 million. Disney tried to get the makers to bring the budget down to something more realistic -- like say $232 million -- but they couldn't find a way.

Undoubtedly part of the reason this movie is costing a ton is the salaries of Johnny Depp, Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. These are the three biggest reasons that Pirates of the Caribbean is a billion dollar movie franchise for Disney, so if they each ask for $20 million plus a percentage of the gross receipts, you're looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 to $100 mil. The rest of the money goes to remaining cast, producers, crew and whatever the script says it needs to pull off a 19th century western.

Disney's also likely concerned because it is spending a lot of moolah on tentpole pictures and not seeing corresponding returns. Tron Legacy made $400 million worldwide; Disney will likely get about 55% of that money, so say $210 million. Marketing and advertising for Tron Legacy is estimated to be another $200 mil, so you see how far the movie studio still needs to go to recoup its investment. And it's got two other $200m+ movies in production, Oz the Great and Powerful and John Carter. No crystal ball can tell Disney how much, or how little, those two pictures will earn.

It may not be the end of the road for Verbinski's Lone Ranger. There could still be a last minute resolve which lowers the budget and opens the door for a greenlight from Disney, but that sounds like it's a public game of perception being played.

-Deadline.
Quasar
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Posts: 7588
Posted: 10 years 16 weeks ago

If they added "of Mars" to the John Carter movie, they'd increase its box office potential from around 20 million to closer to 100 million.

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
mckracken
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Posts: 965
Posted: 10 years 16 weeks ago

oh my god Quasar... John Carter is actually set on MARS????