Cloud Atlas is one of my favorite films this year, but I’m not ready to declare the best film I’ve seen this year. Even though 2012 isn’t over, there have been other films that I enjoyed more and worked slightly better for me. But Cloud Atlas is definitely the most important film I’ve seen this year in terms of what it represents from an industry perspective. It is an independent film with a major budget. The film had the technical resources to meet its grand ambition. The Wachowski Siblings and Tom Tykwer have been able to successfully craft their vision and do so outside the Hollywood system, which is good because Hollywood never would have made a movie Cloud Atlas. And if Cloud Atlas tanks, they never will.
You have the power to change that.
Disney’s drama with The Lone Ranger continues. As we previously reported, Disney thought the budget was too high and wanted to work it down to at least $215 – $220 million. Director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer tried to wrangle down that budget but Disney chairman Rich Ross went so far as to hint that Verbinski was an expendable piece of the puzzle if it meant not spending an exorbitant amount on a Western. But Deadline is now reporting that star Johnny Depp won’t do the movie without Verbinski at the helm. No Depp means there’s no movie and the studio certainly wants to keep one of the world’s biggest movie stars happy.
The good news for Disney is that Verbinski and Bruckheimer were able to get the budget down to less than $220 million although it’s not at the $200 million mark that the studio would have preferred. However, there’s still no final agreement on the budget and insiders tell Deadline that Verbinski “won’t take the budget down to a certain point where it’s not the same movie that he started out to make.” Hit the jump for a recap of why Disney is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
We have a few director-related stories for you this morning. First up, Moviehole is reporting that Phillip Noyce (Salt) has left the submarine action-thriller Hunter Killer. Noyce had been officially on board since February, but apparently just realized that the story—which is about an American sub commander and a Navy SEAL team that must rescue the Russian president and defeat a renegade admiral who’s attempting a coup—was too similar to his previous films (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger). He’ll now turn his focus to the time-travel romance Timeless and newly-announced project, Above Suspicion, a thriller written by Chris Gerolmo (Mississippi Burning). We previously reported that Noyce was also attached to a remake of Bloodsport, an adaptation of Tim Winton’s Dirt Music, and the drama Our Wild Life.
Hit the jump for more intrigue revolving around The Lone Ranger.
Disney will forego panels and presentations at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con now that the company has established its own convention with the D23 Expo. This year’s D23 runs from August 19 – 21st and will include presentations, screenings, celebrity panels, autograph signings, and other fan-friendly activities. The major ramification for Comic-Con isn’t the loss of films from Walt Disney Studios and Pixar (although that certainly stings), but from the loss of Marvel Studios. While Marvel will certainly have a presence at Comic-Con, its panels will be reserved for D23.
The schedule for D23 has been released and on Saturday, August 20th from 11am to 12:30 pm, the presentation for Walt Disney Studios will be hosted by Disney chairman Rich Ross, President of Production Sean Bailey, Chief Creative Officer of Disney and Pixar John Lasseter, and Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige. Hit the jump for the full schedule.
Schedule D23 Expo’s official website.
A piece of Aztec gold just doesn’t go as far as it used to. The LA Times reports that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides isn’t going to have the loose purse springs of its predecessors. Disney, under the management of new studio Chairman Rich Ross, is trying to exercise fiscal restraint on the upcoming blockbuster. While the budget is still north of $200 million, the previous installment cost $300 million. Some of the cost-saving measures include moving the production to the tax-incentive friendly Hawaii and London, shooting more scenes on land, 90 to 95 shooting days compared to the 142 on the last film, and 1,300 to 1,400 special effect shots compared to At World’s End‘s two-thousand. An elaborate carriage chase scene was scheduled to shoot for 12 days and now it will only get four to six.
I don’t think a leaner Pirates movie is necessarily a bad thing. I really liked Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, but I know I was in the minority. I think that these budget cuts may be a blessing in disguise and win back the fans that felt the sequels went overboard. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides hits theaters on May 20, 2011.