Disney Shuts Down Production on ‘The Lone Ranger’
Disappointing news came for fans looking forward to Disney’s remake of The Lone Ranger last night, when Disney announced that production would be stopped on the Western film. The film was set to begin shooting in the fall, with a release date in December 2012.
The abrupt shut down of the project, the Hollywood Reporter reports, was the result of clashes between Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer over the film’s budget. The film was to be directed by Gore Verbinski, and the film’s main stars would be Johnny Depp as Tonto, and Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger. Disney is said to have given Bruckheimer and Verbinski a “firm budget number” that they did not feel was nearly enough to make the film they wanted, and negotiations ultimately broke down. The shut down may have also been a result of reluctance over the film’s Western genre, which lately has not been the most popular, given the poor showing of current film Cowboys and Aliens.
One thing that will be interesting to see is how this news will affect Disney’s relationship with Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp. Bruckheimer has served as producer for Disney’s four profitable films in the Pirates of the Caribbean series; however, Bruckheimer’s “cold streak” outside of the fourth Pirates film and the expensive nature of his films have already strained his relationship with Disney. This news certainly can’t help, but it will be interesting to note whether they will resolve their differences, or if this could affect future collaborations, including a fifth Pirates film. Johnny Depp is known as one of Walt Disney Studios’ most profitable actors, having starred in the immensely popular Pirates franchise and last year’s Alice in Wonderland. Depp also has two other films in the works with Disney, which his Infinitum Nihil production company will also be a part of. Could this shut down affect these films, or whether or not he agrees to star in a fifth Pirates film? We will have to wait and see.