Disney Halts “Lone Ranger” Production

Disney Pictures has halted production on Gore Verbinksi’s big-budget tentpole “The Lone Ranger” according to the trades.

The project stars Armie Hammer as the titular western hero, Johnny Depp as his Native American sidekick Tonto and a supporting cast including Ruth Wilson, Dwight Yoakam, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale and Barry Pepper.

Shooting was to kick off this fall for a December 21st 2012 release. Now things are on ice due to ballooning production costs on both this film and Disney’s upcoming slate. Verbinski and the production team have tried to reduce the budget from $250 million to $232 million, but it is still some way off from the $200 million the studio is willing to spend.

Disney will still move forward on the project but is in the process of bringing down costs, no word on what delays will result.