Whoa, Silver! Disney Shuts Down Jerry Bruckheimer's The Lone Ranger Adaptation
08.13.11 by BJSprecher
Only weeks after the supporting cast of producer Jerry Bruckheimer's (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) long-in-development adaptation of The Lone Ranger was fleshed out, and just two months before filming was supposed to begin in New Mexico under the direction of Gore Verbinski (Rango), Disney has pulled the plug on the production. According to Deadline, the decision was made for financial reasons, with the budget far above the $200 million that Disney wanted to spend on it. Johnny Depp, who would have played Tonto to Armie Hammer's Lone Ranger, apparently had a "pay or play" contract, so he's going to get a huge chunk of cash no matter what.
While the ballooning budget may have been the major motivator for Disney to shut down The Lone Ranger, Deadline also pointed out two other factors that likely contributed to the decision. The first factor is the release date. The Lone Ranger would have opened against World War Z starring Brad Pitt, and just one week after the highly-anticipated The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. That's pretty stiff competition for any movie, let alone a Western, which brings us to the second factor — the genre. Westerns have not been in vogue in Hollywood for some time and even director Jon Favreau (Iron Man movies) couldn't convince audiences to see Cowboys and Aliens when he blended his Western with sci-fi themes and had Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford headlining. Another planned Western-ish movie that recently bit the dust is director Ron Howard's planned adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, which Universal passed on because of the projected cost.