Friday, May 24, 2024

Disney Heads Off Possible “Lone Ranger” Issues with Benefit for American Indian College Fund


Hi ho! “The Lone Ranger” is coming with Johnny Depp playing Tonto. This is kind of a dicey issue, so Disney is getting out in front of any problems. Either Disney chief Alan Horn or p.r. whiz Zenia Mucha, two very smart people, have come up with some good ideas. First of all, the big “Lone Ranger” premiere on June 22nd will benefit the American Indian College Fund. The premiere is going to be at Disney’s California Adventure Park in Anaheim complete with red carpets and celebrities.

In a statement, Disney chairman Alan Horn says: “We’ve had a terrific collaboration with the Native American community throughout the production of Disney’s ‘The Lone Ranger.” With the world premiere of this exciting film at hand, we are pleased to commemorate the occasion by supporting the American Indian College Fund.”

Here’s more from the release:

Tickets for the premiere event have been donated by Disney to the American Indian College Fund, which will offer them for sale to the public; tickets will be available for purchase at, starting today. Because Disney is also underwriting the entire cost of the premiere, 100% of the revenues received by the American Indian College Fund for the tickets will be used for scholarships and other support for Native American students. Tickets are priced at $1000.

Fund President, Cheryl Crazy Bull, stated: “The Fund is pleased to be the beneficiary of this event because our scholarships are an investment in a healthier, more prosperous future for tribal students and their families.  We are poised to serve over 20,000 American Indian and Alaska Native students attending the tribal colleges across this country.  Currently our scholarships serve less than 21% of those students so we appreciate any opportunity to bring resources into our scholarship program.”

So: good news. There’s going to be sensitivity on “Lone Ranger.” This should ease things a bit. PS The bigger issue will be how accessible Depp is at the premiere. We were just reminiscing the other day about his “Rum Diary” premiere– one of the most unpleasant New York premieres ever.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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