Disney Rescues <i>The Lone Ranger</i>

After more than a month filled with uncertainly, it looks as if Disney's Lone Ranger may ride again after all.

The studio, concerned by the underwhelming opening of Cowboys & Aliens, pulled the reins on the rumored $275 million Western in mid-August, leading producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski to slash costs. They reportedly gave up $10 million of their fees as part of an effort to reduce the budget to somewhere in the $215 million range, lower than the $220 million compromise figure but higher than the $200 million Disney really wanted. The deal with star Johnny Depp was apparently reworked as well.

Now Deadline contends the financial issues are expected to be resolved by next week, meaning the studio can begin rehiring the crew to start production by January or February. It seems highly unlikely that the film, which stars Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger, will be able to hit its original Dec. 21, 2012, opening date. But where it will fall on the Disney calendar remains to be seen.

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