The Lone Ranger has all of the makings of a hit. While having Johnny Depp's name on the top of the poster is good enough to sell anything, the movie also has a solid director in Gore Verbinski, who is coming off of one of the best films of his career (Rango), Jerry Bruckheimer producing, and a cast that also includes Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson, Helena Bonham Carter, Dwight Yoakam, Barry Pepper and James Badge Dale. All of that makes this new development from Deadline quite stunning.

According to the report, Disney has decided to shut down production on The Lone Ranger. Though the film wasn't scheduled to begin production until October, the studio became extremely nervous about the film's budget, which stood at $250 million, though filmmakers were trying to bring it down to $200 million. The reason for the nerves can possibly be attributed to the budgets of both John Carter of Mars - which has seen its price tag go up due to reshoots - and Sam Raimi's Oz The Great and Powerful, which is also hovering around the $200 million mark. With Lone Ranger still in pre-production, it proved to be the easiest one to stop. It is unknown if Disney plans to try and sell the project or if they will try and break it down and start over with a lower cost. The website reached out to the studio though calls were not returned.

This is pretty incredible. Before now there wasn't any indication that the project was on shaky terms which only makes this more of a surprise. What's really rough is that Johnny Depp has been trying to get this project going for years now and this is the closest they've ever come. As we learn more you can be sure that we will report on it.

UPDATE! Variety has now chimed in to claim that some of what's being reported may be overreaction. They say the project is far from dead, rather Disney plans to move forward with The Lone Ranger, they're just doing it with a reduced budget. That sounds fine by me, this is just a western after all, it's not like they need to make a bunch of CGI, talking monkeys.

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