Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why The Lone Ranger was always a smarter bet than John Carter...

Well, um, this does look like Arnie Hammer a The Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp as Tonto.  Here is your first official look (congrats on getting it online before cell-phone photos were leaked) at Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger.  If you recall, the film was almost shelved last year over budgetary concerns.  Disney only put the project back on the table when costs were trimmed from $250 million to $215 million.  Ironically, it was this story that first brought to light the insanely high price tag for Andrew Stanton's John Carter, which (barring a miracle) is set to open to pretty lukewarm numbers tomorrow.  I've long argued against the ever-rising budgets of big-scale would-be blockbusters, arguing that studios shouldn't "spend Return of the King money on Fellowship of the Ring".  But it is beyond odd that this film was the one to make Disney finally come down hard on budgets.  Even if $215 million is still a bit much to spend on a Lone Ranger film, it is surely a far-safer bet than a complete unknown entity like John Carter (which has no stars, cult-level source material, an untested live-action director at the helm, and - in hindsight - isn't a good movie).

With this film, you have Johnny Depp in a starring role for a Jerry Bruckheimer production helmed by Gore Verbinski based on an iconic property.  I think we all have a renewed appreciation for Verbinksi's talents after sitting through Rob Marshall's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, but even that monstrosity made $1 billion worldwide.  While Verbinski made overspend (Rango wasn't cheap and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is among the most expensive movies ever made), he puts that money up on the screen and absolutely delivers the big-scale action/spectacle that these kind of pictures demand.  And while The Lone Ranger may not be as well known today as Batman or Spider-Man, he is beloved by older audiences, belongs in an easily-translated genre (the western), will probably be sold as a quasi-Pirates spin-off, and has a kick-ass theme song that will go great with trailers.  It's a risk, but with one of the biggest tent pole stars in the world, a known property, and a viable craftsmen at the helm, The Lone Ranger is certainly a safer (and wiser) bet than John Carter.

Scott Mendelson


Bill said...

That picture looks very funny to me.
So if they are going for the yucks they are on the right track.

Bulldog said...

But will it be more of Jack Sparrow, just in a different setting? I could see that being a bit of turn off with American audiences, who might be at their world's end with that character.

Jim O'Hara said...

"While Verbinski made overspend..." should be "may"

marvelmysteryman said...

Clayton Moore and John Hart are much better than this fiasco!


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