Disney halts Johnny Depp's 'Lone Ranger'

Dominique Charriau/WireImage.com

Disney has halted production on Johnny Depp’s planned adaptation of The Lone Ranger, a studio source confirms to EW. As first reported by Mike Fleming over at Deadline, executives at the studio grew concerned over the film’s $200-plus-million budget and put the brakes on the production, which was to begin shooting in October. The surprising move comes just weeks after another expensive Western, Cowboys & Aliens, underperformed at the box office.

Still, the studio says it’s not giving up on the Lone Ranger. “It’s not dead and gone,” one Disney exec tells EW. “It’s a priority project for the studio. We want to make this movie.” That may be because the cast and crew features so many members of the Pirates of the Caribbean team: Depp, director Gore Verbinski, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, just to name a few. The question is: If the film gets back up and running, can it still be completed in time for its scheduled Dec. 21, 2012, release date?

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  • Dave

    I know Johnny Depp is the big name star in this movie, but isn’t it odd that a lot of articles about it completely ignore the fact that Armie Hammer is playing the main character?

    • RMS

      It’s a western. Why does it have to cost $200 million to make?

      • Sowport

        Because they have more people in the production company than an entire state government.

      • Harry Kuheim

        Unions, Unions , Unions….That’s why a mvie cost 200 million.

      • SC

        No, special effects and big salaries for the leads cause large budgets. The production crew getting decent wages isn’t the cause (since SAG has been around since 1947).

      • Brian Wallace

        Jerry Bruckheimer won’t produce a movie unless it costs at least $200 million.



        I think the money should be given to make another Lizzie McGuire movie where Lizzie and Gordo get married – honestly it would be the perfect movie for Disney to make – both the actors are the right age, there is a void at Disney in that department. It would make so much money.

      • Ranch Mubay

        Because there’s a long scene in the middle where the Lone Ranger and Tonto fight some ghost pirates.

      • Mac

        Consider Depp will make $20+ million AND get a cut of the revenue, not to mention a modern Western has not made over $200 million and I would be concerned, too. Is the Lone Ranger really that interesting? It might appeal to Baby Boomer men… but who else? A Cohen Western I will stand in line for, a brain-dead Verbinski project… no way. The last good picture he did was the first Pirates.

      • Nicole

        A western back in the 30s-50s took only 16 weeks production to make. A couple of weeks of post production to edit. Some entirely shot on location. Everything that is a western today is based completely from these originals. Even movies that aren’t Westerns – have the same concepts throughout. How did they cost to make? Not 200 million dollars.

      • FarmerTom

        Harry. Harry, Harry, Harry. Come on, man. Unions are the problem? You think Woody Allen’s $7million films aren’t union? Back to school, Harry…

      • Brett

        Farmer Tom, Farmer Tom, Farmer Tom…..Woody Allen doesn’t employ nearly as many union members as does Jerry Bruckheimer, especially when he shoots so many films abroad. Back to school, Farmer Tom.

    • SC

      Tonto is the main character in this version; hence, why Depp is playing him.

      • Guy

        But if Tonto is the main character, why is the movie called The Lone Ranger? Why didn’t they just call it Tonto? The Lone Ranger sounds better, I guess. Either way, I agree with Dave. Whether the main character in the movie is the Lone Ranger or Tonto, The Lone Ranger is still the title character, and Armie Hammer should be mentioned.

    • tova

      the movie is focused on tonto (depp) to make it different than the first. so the sidekick is the main character

    • Jessica

      Boring suggestion of a film and that guy playing The Lone Range is uber boring. I’m even sick of Depp. Over saturation.

      • Auth

        Yeah, alcohol is very hard on the body, but it can sure be fun, until it’s time to stop.;-)Keith Richards seems to have pasesd that time a long time ago.

    • AB

      Who’s Arnie Hammer?

      • NYRich

        the Winklevoss twins from Social Network

      • Ron

        Which one did he play, Cameron or Tyler?

      • kate middleton

        He played both Winklevi.

    • Alex Michaels

      With Johnny Depp, the movie is probably going to be more about him (Tonto) then the Lone Ranger. Look at the DVD for Alice in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter is large and in front and Alice in the background.

    • JPX


      • JPX


  • lipreader

    Was he gonna leave a silver cigarette butt?

  • Mr. Williams

    I’m not surprised. With the lackluster box office results from the movie “Cowboys & Aliens”, the Western Genre is officially DEAD!!! Today’s young generation just doesn’t care about cowboys anymore. I’m willing to bet $5.00 that people under 30 don’t even know who the Lone Ranger is. Oh well, I guess that means their will never be a revived “Wild, Wild, West” Movie, DARN. John Wayne must be rolling in his grave.

    • annie

      I think a lot of women would pay to see Johnny Depp in any kind of movie! I would! Johnny is HOT!!!!!!!

      • Ed

        AND a lot of us men!

      • Boone

        If Johnny D was a “no name” you wouldn’t look twice at him in a grocery store. He looks more like the guy who changes my oil — than any “hot “dude.
        Clean your glasses.

      • annie

        Johnny Depp can change my oil anytime!!!!! I don’t care what he does for a living!!! He’s HOT!!!!!!!

      • starfe

        Men also would like to see Depp in Ralph Lauren cawboy wear

        yum yum

      • Jessica

        Not any more.

      • Teri

        Those of us who are love Johnny in any role will be there when The Lone Ranger hits the screen! We never tire of seeing Johnny on the big screen!

    • Mephysto

      True Grit was a hit last year…

      • Kevin7

        But True Grit didn’t cost over $200,000,000 to make. That’s a lot of zeros for a western.

    • Mephysto

      Cowboys & Aliens is bombing because it’s a boring movie, not because it’s a western.. Change Up is also bombing, so by your logic, we should declare the Adult-oriented comedies dead too

      • Templar

        Also, Harrison Ford is no longer box office gold.

      • @Templar

        The days of the big movie star are over.. No actor or actress is guaranteed to open a movie anymore.. Ok, maybe Will Smith, and that one still baffles me

      • Kevin C

        Am I the only one that loved Cowboys and Aliens? I thought it was just perfect.

      • SC

        There were a bunch of successful R-rated comedies this summer.

        By comparison, the Western has been pretty dead for decades.

      • jackie d

        Agreed. Plus westerns and sci-fi are a horrible combination. Hollywood should have remembered that from Wild Wild West.

      • Nicole

        Western fantasy gone crazy.

    • Joe

      Cowboys & Aliens is a stupid idea – with equally stupid writing. That’s why it failed. Look at the success of True Grit. It’s not the genre – it’s the studios and their stupidity in underestimating the film going public.

      • Boone

        You are so right on. These guys have oooodles of accountants that have correlated the right mix for success in the box office — but the arrogance of the Director / Producers misguides them to producing crap that only they or there bizarre co-horts would wanta see.

    • J T

      They already did a revival of Wild Wild West in the 90s with Will Smith…and it tanked. I suspect that means a few more years before they try to dig that up again.

      • James Kirk

        Wild Wild West was Fresh Price Of The West, yet another vehicle for Will Smith’s hamming.Give me some dwcent acting of any genre.. Depp may be a ham, but that was Captain Jack. Im willing to give him a chance withTonto.

      • hollywoodsgone

        in the original series james west was white, robert conrad was asked to make a cameo on smiths wild wild west film! conrad denied, end of story. i was on the crew at sony as most people know it or mgm studios do they still shoot feature films in hollywood?? everything is out of state too bad lone ranger im glad!!

    • California

      Funny enough I don’t think of Cowboys and Aliens as a western movie. To me that was more fantasy and sci fi. A true western is like Tombstone, or with Clint Eastwood or John Wayne. I’ve never seen the Lone Ranger tv show, but it seems to me it falls more into the latter style than the former.

      • Kirk

        Cowboys and Aliens = Howard the Duck

    • rose

      Cowboys & Aliens didn’t fail because it was a Western. It failed because it was a boring movie that badly mixed a western with a sci-fi movie.

    • ballsmcgee

      Western Genre isn’t dead, also Lone Ranger isn’t a real western and neither is Cowboys vs. aliens.

    • Jose

      I’m 189, I know who The Lone Ranger is, I watched the show with my dad on TV Land and because he had a lot of episodes on VHS.

      Like others have said, True Grit was a financial and critical hit, same goes with Rango whicj is kind of a western so westerns aren’t dead as long as Hollywood makes westerns that are good. Where’s my $5?

    • Ranch Mubay

      Will Smith’s Wild Wild West stunk, as did Cowboys and Indians. On the other hand the remake of True Grit was very good. It not the genre that’s the problem, its there not making GOOD westerns.

    • Bob D

      Calling “Cowboys and Aliens” western is an exreme stretch.

    • swthompson

      True Grit, anybody? Heck, Rango was a western homage that was very well done.

    • Nicole

      The economy is so bad right now, even corporations are having to tighten their belts, and consider just about every expenditure they make. Perhaps they know more about this economy then most of you guys.

  • Weiss

    The bigger question is what in the world is going on in this ‘western’ that costs over $230 million dollars?

    • norablindsided

      didn’t you hear? the film is going to be directed by Michael Bay. (Sarcasm)

  • Hm

    A Lone Ranger movie should not cost $200 million. No way, no how. It should be possible to get it in under $100 million easily by relying on a good story for once, and not stupid effects or 3D. Get it done already.

    • rose

      More likely is the cost is due to the huge salaries for Depp, Verbinski, and Bruckheimer. The smallest part of the budget is probably for the script.

      • Nicole

        The smallest part of the budget is the actually production crew salaries, but not if they are union. Non-union, you might as well be working for free basically.

  • Saucy Jones

    Exactly, the western isn’t dead if it’s done right. True Grit was a massive hit. There were even moderate hits like 3:10 to Yuma and Open Range. Cowboys and Aliens failed because it was a mix of genres. If The Lone Ranger is done right, it could be a massive hit.

    • JohnT

      Yes those were hits, but they would all have been massive bombs if they cost over $200 million to make. $200 million+ for production, then you add marketing cost and the fact that westerns tend to not be big in overseas markeds and that is a huge gamble you got there.

  • RMS

    It’s a western for goodness sake! Why does it have to cost $200 million to make?

    • Mother Nature

      Horses don’t come cheap. I swear that was the reason given for why Game of Thrones had such a huge (extremely tight) budget.

      • skeptik

        Game of thrones cost somewhere around $50 million for 10 hours of quality programming. An absolute bargain considering what they achieved.

  • Hmm

    I have to agree with other comments- What is making a western cost $200 million? (That seems a bit steep!)

    • skeptik

      Gore Verbinski is costing that much. The man can’t make a movie that doesn’t really entirely on the most expensive vfx set pieces he can dream up

  • Mp

    I don’t think the name of the movie helped either. It sounds like something a 10 year old boy would come up with, which makes me wonder how much thought was put into the script. I’ll wait for it to come out on RedBox so I only have to pay a dollar.

  • geek

    Cowboys and Aliens was a gamble and long shot premise. I saw the advances months ago and thought it odd. I have not seen and no compelling reason to do so. A remake of the Lone Ranger has some appeal but I am not sure those who remember the original will win the day at the box office.

  • Ferniesfreckles

    Maybe the movie is shelved because the “Lone Ranger” character is being played by someone who looks like a 15-year old?

    Isn’t he supposed to be a 30 or 40-ish law man?

  • lovesthesun

    u no depp is uncut,,,,,,

  • redvector

    It was a stupid idea to start with and the budget was even more so.

    • Nicole

      The Lone Ranger sounds like a sure thing, but on the other hand, it might not be. I don’t think they know what people want to really see anymore. There have been like 20 comicbook movies in a row, one after another.. It’s like there is some bin filled with old comics and they reach in and pull one out each time they need to pick something to make.

      • Pawan

        I think you nailed it, Kate (no pun intndeed). Sensual is a perfect word to describe him. He seems like he would be sensual about everything – – food, drink, his woman, etc. He also seems like he’s an incredibly down to earth, humble guy – – and that is totally attractive to me. He’s always been known as someone who appreciates his fans and is willing to do the whole “meet and greet” thing without complaint. How many other actors can we say that about? Love, love, love him.

  • Harvey

    Am I the only one who remembers “The Legend of the Lone Ranger” (1981)? Don’t worry, there was nothing to remember except for the lesson: Don’t burn old bridges and Clayton Moore. That bit of bad publicly was just another nail in the coffin of a movie that was DOA.

  • SC

    The whole idea of Johnny Depp as Tonto was incredibly stupid to begin with. Cast an actual Native American in that part and Depp can be the Lone Ranger.

    • erin

      I’m really surprised Native Americans haven’t been all over this protesting because of Depp’s casting.

      Or…. maybe they have better things to do.

      • Dustin Ingle

        Gotta be an ass here.
        Depp’s got some Cherokee in him.

        That being said I’d rather see The Dude (Big Labowski) Jeff Bridges be the Lone Ranger – ha ha

        The Ranger abides, yo Tonto light that thing up and let’s ride.


    • Ikagirl

      At least he is part Cherokee. . .

      • Jenny

        Actually, in an interview he gave with this publication this past spring, he admitted that he was not sure what tribe his ancestors were supposed to have been from, which is really a shame.

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