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?