This weeks seems to be a bad omen for several high-profile films. With the news of World War Z having hiccups in production, there follows more unfortunate news concerning another major studio production. THR is reporting that Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger is running into some familiar issues with their budget. If history is any indication, when a large scale film such as this is forced to cut back on spending, we may be watching Armie Hammer's Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp's Tonto riding in to save the day on one of those coin-op horsie rides you see outside of supermarkets.
The ambitious film reunites producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, whose last collaboration on Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is honored as one of the most expensive films ever produced. At least they can stay consistent. This is not the first money issue that The Lone Ranger has had during the course of production. They ran into just this same problem last summer when the budget for the film was approaching the $250 million mark before they even started shooting. After some cuts to salaries and removing some special effects, they were able to contain the ballooning budget to about $215 million.
But like clockwork, the budget has risen once again, now back to the old sum of $250 million. The report is that weather-related problems in New Mexico have delayed the shooting schedule and caused damage to some sets. Verbinski is also keeping true to the source material and having period style trains manufactured specifically for the film, which must be burning a hole in Disney's wallet. This all sounds very similar to issues that plagued Terry Gilliam's trouble pot film, Lost in La Mancha, which also starred Depp and is now very firmly in development hell.
Another cut in budget may force Verbinski to begin cutting off scenes as he goes, which can ultimately lead to a garbled, convoluted mess of Old West imagery. With a little more than a year until it's July 3rd, 2013 release date, there is still hope that the ever-present problem of money can resolve itself. Otherwise we're looking at another untimely addition to development hell.