Paramount Pictures has pulled the plug on "Beverly Hills Cop III," citing an unrealistic production schedule geared to a summer release.
The much-anticipated sequel to the two previous blockbuster comedies starring Eddie Murphy was to have begun principal photography next month.
Instead, crew members were told Tuesday that the production will be shut down for at least eight weeks so the producers and Paramount can "put together a schedule that makes sense," according to a studio spokeswoman.
Sources say the decision has as much to do with money as time.
A producer close to the film said Paramount panicked when it realized that mounting such a complicated production on an accelerated schedule could cost as much as $70 million. The production required the building of theme park sets, the creation of animated sequences and scenes involving hundreds of extras. Murphy's salary alone was to be $15 million.
"Die Hard" and "Lethal Weapon" series producer Joel Silver, for one, rejected the chance to take the helm of "Beverly Hills Cop III" because he anticipated that finishing the picture in time for an August release without going over budget was impossible.
The movie's producers, Bob Rehme and Mace Neufeld, were not available to comment.
"Beverly Hills Cop III" had been seen as one of Paramount's big releases this year.