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Does ‘The Lone Ranger’ Prove Westerns are a Bad Bet?

By on August 15, 2011

Westerns are not flavor of the month, apparently.

First, Stephen King’s western-themed book adaptation of The Dark Tower series was passed on by Universal.  Then we watched uncomfortably as Cowboys and Aliens was threatened by the Smurfs at the box office during its opening weekend, which must surely have been a major disappointment for Dreamworks.

Now the Gore Verbinski/Jerry Bruckheimer period western/comedy The Lone Ranger has been officially shut down by Disney.

In the latter case, the filmmakers cite the movie’s staggering $250 million pricetag as the main reason, a substatntial outlay for any film, let alone a western. If The Lone Ranger had gone ahead then it would have fond itself up against the likes of The Hobbit and Brad Pitt’s World War Z, slated for release on December 21st 2012.  Universal does not like those odds, clearly.

Johnny Depp who earlier in the week expressed continued interest in the project despite all the financial wrangling, was signed on to play Tonto, with Armie Hammer in the title role. With tent-pole projects continuing to come under close scrutiny by studios in the current economic climate, The Lone Ranger may have been one western too far.

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