Late Friday word came down that Disney had decided to shelve their upcoming Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Lone Ranger movie starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer due to a ballooning budget that at one point was over $240 million. Initial reports (including ours) were a bit baffled by the fact that the film's budget was that high. How many expensive special effects could there be in a Lone Ranger movie after all? Well, apparently lots since -- according to a report over at Hollywood Elsewhere -- the script included Johnny Depp's Tonto and Armie Hammer's Lone Ranger squaring off against werewolves in a "big Bruckheimer CG movie with traditional Bruckheimer elements with an eye toward being a tentpole, totally Pirates-style. It was never going to be a semi-traditional western ... it was never going to be Zorro."
While the thought of Johnny Depp fighting werewolves is actually kinda cool, it appears as if the less-than-stellar opening of Cowboys & Aliens is what ultimately convinced Disney that the genre crossover wasn't worth the risk. " If Cowboys & Aliens had made $200 million, this wouldn't be happening. A Bruckheimer-style western in the wake of Cowboys & Aliens is nothing anyone is feeling secure about at this stage," says the HE source. That, plus the fact that the film's December 2012 release date was right in the thick of a very busy month which already includes movies like The Hobbit, World War Z and Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, was just another nail in the coffin for the western duo.
The part that bums us out a bit is the fact that Disney was scared off by Cowboys & Aliens. Sure, that film didn't live up to its full potential, but big-budget genre crossovers are fun, and we'd love to see Hollywood take more risks like Cowboys & Aliens because it livens up a season full of sequels, remakes, and prequels. What do you think? Upset Disney dumped Lone Ranger, or are you glad they did now that you've learned about the werewolves and such?