'Lone Ranger' rides on haircut$ for Depp & Hammer
Walt Disney Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer are getting back in the saddle for LONE RANGER, but at a lower budget, with fees for principal players reduced 20% and Bruckheimer Films agreeing to pony up for any cost overruns, Variety's Marc Graser reports exclusively. A couple of months after the Mouse House balked at a steep $250 million pricetag for the Gore Verbinski-helmed Western, the two sides have pared down the budget closer to $215 million and zeroed in on a new release date that will shift it from its original Dec. 21, 2012 berth, with its production start delayed from November to February, sources close to the project said. Despite hyped reports that Disney pulled the plug on the bigscreen adaptation in August, the pic was never dead; construction of New Mexico sets were put on hold, as producers lassoed in the budget. In order to reduce costs, the script was reworked to eliminate f/x sequences involving supernatural elements, sources told Variety. Verbinski, Bruckheimer and stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer also reduced their fees by 20%, with certain payments deferered until the box office results start coming in. And if the budget goes beyond the new agreed upon number, Bruckheimer — not Disney — would have to pay for overages.