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Santa Fe could see a surge in hotel room rentals and restaurant customers next week, as some 300 journalists are expected in town to take part in an array of media-related events tied to Disney’s upcoming release of The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer.
The city has licensed its Buckman Track ATV/MX Park to a group representing Kawasaki Motor Corp. — which just announced a publicity tie-in with Disney to promote both the film and Kawasaki off-road motorcycles, four-wheel vehicles and street motorcycles — for the week starting Monday. Kawasaki will use professional drivers to take members of the media and invited guests on side-by-side rides on the track.
Kawasaki just posted a trio of short videos on its website that link the adventures of the Lone Ranger and Tonto to modern-day motor-bike enthusiasts blazing new trails.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Walt Disney Studios announced early in 2012 that they were teaming up to produce a new film version of The Lone Ranger story to be shot in New Mexico, among other locales. An article in the July 2013 issue of New Mexico Magazine notes that the film was shot in five states over the course of 150 days, with much of the filming taking place along the Rio Puerco. The film’s budget tops the $200 million mark, according to most reports.
The Lone Ranger originated as a radio show some 80 years ago, before ABC utilized the characters for a long-running television series starring Clayton Moore as the title character and Canadian Mohawk actor Jay Silverheels as his loyal friend Tonto. In the new film, scheduled to be released July 3, Depp plays Tonto and Hammer plays the Lone Ranger.
Efforts to get information on next week’s activities from both Disney and the New Mexico Film Office were unsuccessful Friday.
“I would hope that besides the attendees themselves, the publicity that the film generates will help tourism, but that remains to be seen,” said Jim Luttjohann, executive director for the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The gate to the 55-acre Buckman Track in the publicly owned La Tierra Trails network west of N.M. 599 has been locked since last fall because of concerns about liability insurance. City officials have hired a consultant, Great Outdoors, to assess the track and provide a preliminary schematic design to ensure safe recreational use of the facility, and the city is looking for a nonprofit to keep the track open for local riders. However, there’s no firm timeline for when it might reopen to the public.
(c)2013 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.