In a surprising turn of events, Disney has halted production on Johnny Depp’s latest project, The Lone Ranger, after it was reported that the budget for the film would exceed $200 million. For studio execs, this may be viewed as a cautionary move as Paramount’s Cowboys & Aliens, a $163 million film, has thus far under performed with a domestic haul of under $80 million going into its third weekend of release.
However, this move is utter nonsense to me. The last two films Johnny Depp has made under the Disney brand went on to gross over $1 billion each worldwide, with those films being Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Straner Tides. Also, frankly speaking, Johnny Depp is a name that carries a lot more weight worldwide now than say, Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde combined from Cowboys & Aliens. And it should also be noted that Cowboys & Aliens has yet to open up in any international markets.
I mean when you have someone who has made you billions of dollars with those two films, along with all of the Pirates franchise, so you’d think Disney would put a little more faith in Johnny Depp and his ability to draw in crowds for movies. And on a final note, much of the team who brought audiences the first trilogy of Pirates films would be working on The Lone Ranger, including director Gore Verbinski and mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
Now the film isn’t officially dead as it is just put on hold, but this kind of move is a bit of a slap in the face to Depp, Verbinski and Bruckheimer for no real reason in my mind.