In case you didn't know it, the economy is somewhat struggling these days and Hollywood is not immune to that struggle. First the Guillermo del Toro-produced, Tom Cruise-starring, H.P. Lovecraft-based At The Mountains Of Madness crumbled. Then the Ron Howard-directed, Javier Bardem-starring, Stephen King-based Dark Tower series fell. Now Disney's Jerry Bruckheimer-produced, Gore Verbinski-directed, Johnny Depp-starring adaptation of The Lone Ranger has toppled off his horse.
Honestly, color me shocked. Despite Pirates 4 being a huge steaming pile, it's still made Disney an official metric crap-ton of cash worldwide this summer, so I would think that the Mouse House would bending over backwards to make this thing happen. Disney cited a $250 million price tag as the main reason, but that sounds like a crock to me. Seriously, how does a Lone Ranger movie cost that much money? A western action/comedy with Depp as Tonto to Armie Hammer's Lone Ranger? There's no way there was a heavy effects budget, and they it's not like Hammer was drawing a huge paycheck.
I think there was some kind of other monkeywrench in the gears here (weak script?) and then Disney saw Cowboys & Aliens crash and burn and the Magic Kingdom decided to cut bait. It's a shame, because casting Armie Hammer as the somewhat dim, good looking masked cowboy hero sounded more than a little brilliant. There's still a chance that Verbinksi and company regroup and bring the project elsewhere, but I wouldn't hold my breath.