Original budget estimates ranged from $275 million to $250 million, and the script has gone through some radical changes, yet never quite radical enough to reduce the budget into something less insane; trading CGI werewolves for the kind of elaborate train stunts that would have made Buster Keaton perform an immaculately timed spit-take (with piano accompaniment).
Even for a production that re-unites the original Pirates of the Carribbean team of Gore Verbinski, Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp, this budget seems ridiculous for a property that has always been very low-key and simplistic. The Western has never been a hugely profitable genre, particularly in the increasingly important worldwide market, but if any project could warrant a little bravery it would be a film from the three men responsible for one of the most lucrative movie franchises of all time. After all, the last high-profile pirate movie before Pirates of the Caribbean bankrupted a production company and became the biggest box office flop of all time. Captain Jack and friends changed that in a major way, so maybe lightning strikes twice and they can return the Western to the big leagues.
The Lone Ranger stars Johnny Depp as hard-working sidekick, Tonto, with The Social Network's Armie Hammer donning the mask and hat for the titular role. Deadline also report that a start date has finally been set for production, February 6, 2012.