- THE LONE RANGER IS ALL ALONE
Who was that masked man? We'll never know now as Disney has reportedly pulled the plug on the big screen return of The Lone Ranger, which had Johnny Depp set to play Tonto and his Pirates of the Caribbean colleagues producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski aboard as well. Yes, the very same team that delivered the very same studio a multi-billion dollar film franchise from the then-defunct pirate movie genre.
Deadline breaks the stunning news of Disney's decision to shut down the high priority tentpole over budgetary issues. The budget was at $250 million, then had reportedly been trimmed to $232 million but Disney was only comfortable signing off on Lone Ranger with a price tag of $200 million.
Deadline says Disney was skittish about green-lighting yet another iffy genre project with a ballooning budget in light of the costly Oz the Great and Powerful and John Carter. Also, the lackluster box office performance of Cowboys & Aliens may have cooled the studio on going ahead with its own costly western. The scuttling of Lone Ranger certainly now explains why the film was notably absent from Disney's schedule for next weekend's D23 Expo.
The Lone Ranger would have starred Armie Hammer in the title role, Ruth Wilson as the female lead, Tom Wilkinson as a railroad baron, Dwight Yoakam as the villainous Butch Cavendish, Helena Bonham Carter as a frontier madam, and Barry Pepper as a cavalry officer.
Lone Ranger marks the second high-profile project of Verbinski's to have been shelved over budget issues, the first one being the video game movie BioShock.