Word of Disney pulling the plug on The Lone Ranger and then popping it back in spread faster than Silver streaking across the desert. The movie’s second chance came thanks to producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the House of Mouse slashing the budget by $45 million. The producer spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about getting the budget down, and even a bit about the next Pirates of the Caribbean.
Bruckheimer said the production, which will be directed by Gore Verbinski of Pirates fame and star Johnny Depp as Tonto, just didn’t hit Disney’s deadline for a script and budget they were comfortable with, so it was taken off the schedule. Four to six weeks after that, thanks to a healthy amount of schedule shuffling and extra cutting — Bruckheimer noted that keeping 150 extras in costumes and makeup adds a lot to the budget — the producer and the studio reached an agreement.
While Bruckheimer and some of the cast and crew took deferments (which basically means they’ll get paid later in production), they were not willing to cut from the script itself. “Disney would have much preferred us cutting stuff out of the script,” he said. “But the competition is fierce. You can’t compete with The Hobbit, you can’t compete with Transformers if you do that. The audience will stay home.” He did admit to trimming some scenes and removing a coyote attack, but nothing that changed the story itself.
The delay pushed the film’s release from December 2012 to May 31, 2013, which Bruckheimer actually prefers because it takes them out of competition with The Hobbit and World War Z and puts them comfortably between the next Fast and Furious movie and Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.
On the subject of the next Pirates movie, Bruckheimer said, “We’re in the outline phase. We will lay out a story. We have a script, but we decided we could do better.”
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