Johnny Depp Lone Ranger Project Reportedly Back On for Slightly Less Stupid Money

johnnydepp_300.jpgWhen Disney pulled the plug on its expensive Lone Ranger project, which was to reunite Pirates of the Caribbean cohorts Johnny Depp, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Gore Verbinski, a few industry-watchers held out hope that the studio and the filmmakers would yet still reach an agreement over how many hundreds of millions of dollars the would-be franchise would cost. Almost exactly two months later, it seems they've reached that compromise. More stupid money for someone!

From Deadline:

On Lone Ranger, there has been a lot of behind-the-scenes drama as the three principal players made concessions in their deals, and worked on the script to salvage the spectacle that made the movie worth making in the first place while bringing the budget down to a more manageable figure in the $215 million range.

So, not quite the affordable $200 million that Disney reportedly initially wanted, but definitely less costly than the $250 million or more that the production was threatening to cost. $215 million makes it ever so cheaper than all but the last three Pirates movies, which cost a reported $225M (2006's Dead Man's Chest), $300M (2007's At World's End), and $250M (2011's On Stranger Tides).

It remains to be seen if any further drastic creative changes will be implemented, especially given that naysayers took license at August's project-halting announcement to blast certain rumored fantastical elements in the script which I won't spoil here. Consider that a free litmus test, Disney.

Deadline's Mike Fleming thinks it unlikely for Lone Ranger's initial December 2012 release date to stand, which solves at least one of the five challenges the project faces which Movieline pinpointed last August.

But, all things considered, is it wise for Bruckheimer, Disney & Co. to move forward after such a public false start? Weigh in below.

'The Lone Ranger' Saddling Up With Johnny Depp And A Tighter Budget [Deadline]