Word is that Disney, looking at a $160-$190 million write-off with The Lone Ranger, is mulling cracking the whip on the people behind it, especially producer Jerry Bruckheimer, taking away his final cut rights, and trying to impose some fiscal discipline on his next fantasy epic for the company Pirates Of The Carribean 5: Flogging The Dead Horse.
For those of you who don't know Hollywood jargon, right of "final cut" means that Bruckheimer had the final say on how his finished films came out and that Disney had to take them "as is."
Only the top Hollywood power players get to have final cut, especially on the big budget monstrosities that Bruckheimer specializes in. Bruckheimer, star Depp, and director Gore Verbinski, used to be such power players.
Now I don't think whether or not Bruckheimer has final cut will make much difference in Disney's, and by extension, Hollywood's coming blockbuster meltdown. Nor will the demands for tighter budgets, insisting on budgets that require only $1 billion at the international box office to break even instead of the usual $1.2 billion.
That's like someone who eats two bags of Oreo cookies everyday goes on a diet that says everything will be peachy keen as long as he only eats one and a half bags of chocolate chip cookies.
Here's an idea: USE COMMON SENSE!
Bruckheimer is a major player, but his films are very rapidly pricing themselves out of the market. If he can't deliver a film that can break even before breaking records, then let him move on, and let someone else have a chance.
Remember, he pledged to take $50 million out of the budget for The Lone Ranger, and literally days later, they had gone over the newly negotiated budget almost to the level of the budget they originally wanted.
That was a blatant act of territorial pissing where Bruckheimer declared himself the Alpha in the relationship with Disney.
Disney literally can't afford to let that happen, but can only have the testicular fortitude to do what it takes if they're willing to see beyond the "track record" and the glamour of his position within Hollywood to the cold hard facts on the ground in front of them.
Maybe Disney could start a trend where they buck from the rest of Hollywood and use common sense in their budgeting practices.
I doubt it will happen, but one can dream.