The big screen adaptation of The Lone Ranger came very, very close to getting cancelled by Disney.
However, the major players - Johnny Depp, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer - agreed to cut their fees in exchange for a chunk of the back end.
Of course, the trio is the same team behind the Pirates of the Caribbean, so there's clearly some hope they'll repeat the same cinematic magic with Lone Ranger.
But at the same time, the economy's still in the crapper, and the western's basically a dead genre after Cowboys and Aliens flopped.
Recently, Jerry Bruckheimer spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the film which is currently scheduled to hit theaters on May 31, 2013.
Bruckheimer told writer Kim Masters it was the most difficult negotiation he'd ever been through, but he never had a doubt the movie was going to go forward. When the movie got shut down, Bruckheimer said, "It's always a shock when they actually do it. But I was still very confident we could get the picture made. It took us about four to six weeks to figure out how to make the movie more economically."
Fees were indeed deferred for later, "And I put up some of my development money," Bruckheimer continued. The deferment plan is called a "favored nation" deal, "so we all get paid at the same point when Disney recoups," which took a month to hammer out with the studio which wanted the script cut down. "But the competition is fierce. You can't compete with The Hobbit, you can't compete with Transformers if you do that."
Again, Bruckheimer acknowledged it was a "very hard" bargain to meet, but added, "It's just the times. The studios lost a real source of revenue in DVDs. It's much tougher, much harder. The studios are making fewer movies. In the past, there's always been something else [to make up lost revenue]…There will be something, but it hasn't happened yet."
Not to mention Bruckheimer thinks moving from December 2012 to May 31, 2013 is a better date, putting The Lone Ranger a week after the new Fast and Furious film, and several weeks before the new Superman reboot, Man of Steel.