Kenny Ortega has dropped out as director of Footloose over differences with Paramount Pictures on tone and budget, reports Variety. Ortega directed Wednesday opener Michael Jackson's This Is It.
The studio is starting the search for a new director to keep the project on track for a March production start, when star Chace Crawford is on hiatus from "Gossip Girl." Crawford is starring with Julianne Hough, the "Dancing With the Stars" dancer and country singer.
The trade says that Ortega wanted to make a film with elaborately staged musical numbers at a budget of about $30 million. Paramount production chief Adam Goodman wanted an edgier drama with less emphasis on the musical numbers and a budget around $25 million or less.
Ortega directed all three "High School Musical" films.