News is breaking that The Walt Disney Company has made the shocking decision to completely shut down production on one of their huge upcoming projects, The Lone Ranger.
We’ve been hearing about the movie for a few years now with Johnny Depp attached to star as Tonto (alongside The Social Network‘s Armie Hammer in the title role), Gore Verbinski in the director’s seat, and Jerry Bruckheimer as a producer—all three of which were integral in bringing billions (plural) of dollars to Disney with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Apparently Disney didn’t want to spend any more than $200 million (around the norm for a blockbuster) on the movie, but it was hovering at around $230 million, cut down from an original $250 million mark. The company is already throwing around big bucks with Andrew Stanton’s John Carter running around
the astonishing $300 million mark *$250 million after a bunch of re–shoots were required, and the Sam Raimi Wizard of Oz prequel, Oz: The Great and Powerful, looking at about a $200 million price tag.
With actual filming on The Lone Ranger not scheduled to begin until October, Disney decided that it would be the one they would have to shut down. Surely if they could have chosen from all three it would more likely be John Carter getting the hook, but with that one all but complete, options were limited. The movie was also slated to release on December 21, 2012 against part 1 of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and Brad Pitt’s World War Z.
It’s assumed that work will continue to be done in hopes of lowering the budget on the western, but whether it ever gets back into motion is to be seen.
The Lone Ranger joins a pair of recent shutdowns that equally shocked the masses: Guillermo del Toro’s epic R-rated monster movie, At the Mountains of Madness, and Ron Howard’s massive adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower…both of which were set up at Universal.
[*Update: According to sources at Disney, the figure is more like $250 million, not $300 million.]