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This past August Disney shut down production on the upcoming Lone Ranger film due to spiraling production costs that had the movie looking like it would cost between $250 and $275 million to produce. The company approched director Gore Verbinksi about lowering the cost, but he was only able to get it down to $232 million. Considering the high profile flop of Cowboys & Aliens this summer, obviously a studio would be nervous about putting a lot of money into a western.
Production was halted and there was no indication if things would resume.
According to Deadline, Disney has flipped the switch back to green for the film to start filming on February 6, 2012 in New Mexico due to the budget having fallen further to $215 million. (I still don’t understand how you can spend that much on a western, but oh well.) There’s no word on if all of the cast is still in place, but the most recent plans call for Depp to play Tonto with Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger and Ruth Wilson, Dwight Yoakam, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale and Barry Pepper in various other roles.
It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out, and we’ll see see if it can even come close to making a profit.