Is Disney’s ‘The Lone Ranger’ remake back from the dead? According to Deadline, an official announcement about the film could come as early as next week, with all systems go on a smaller-budgeted version. Originally announced director (Gore Verbinski) and leads Johnny Depp (Tonto), Armie Hammer (the Lone Ranger) are all likely to be onboard (or back in the saddle, if you prefer), which raises the question: what degree of cost-cutting finally earned the project a greenlight?

Supposedly, the $ 250 million budget has been scaled back down to a far more reasonable $ 215 million. What savings! But every penny counts in today’s economy, so $ 35 million could buy you ‘Taken,’ ‘The Fighter,’ or ‘The Help’ and you’d still have $ 10 million to kick around. Or they could have just added $ 45 million worth of product placement. Problem solved!

Shooting on ‘Lone Ranger’ is now expected to begin in early 2012, which would make keeping its original December 21, 2012 release date a pretty heroic feat.

[via Deadline]

photo courtesy of AP

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