"The Lone Ranger" is officially back on.
Disney announced Thursday that it has set a release date of May 31, 2013. The picture had originally been scheduled for a Dec. 21, 2012 release.
For a few months, the big-budget movie's future was in question because Disney halted production over budget concerns.
Soon after Disney made the announcement that the project had been revived Thursday, producer Jerry Bruckheimer tweeted, "#THELONERANGER….and Tonto…will ride again. Excited for another adventure with Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski. Hi-Yo Silver, Away"
TheWrap reported Tuesday that the studio hoped to begin shooting in New Mexico in February.
The movie initially was scheduled to begin production this month, but in August, Disney brought the project to an abrupt halt. It was clear that the studio had some serious budget concerns — which were reasonable, as the movie had a budget estimated at $250 million to $275 million.
It's also an important project for Disney. In addition to the well-known title, it stars Depp — perhaps the most important actor in Hollywood, as far as Disney is concerned. Depp stars in the studio's "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, which have grossed more than $3.7 billion.
If the studio wants Depp to make a fifth "Pirates" movie — and it does — it needs to keep the actor happy.
Part of keeping Depp happy was keeping director Gore Verbinski — his director on "Rango" and three "Pirates" films — on the project.
Disney, Verbinski and Bruckheimer managed to trim the budget to approximately $215 million.
Also Thursday, the studio announced that it will release "Thor 2" on Nov. 15, 2013, rather than July 26, 2013.
The studio's "Phineas and Ferb" will be released on "Thor 2's" old date of July 26, 2013.