The website featured a release from the film production people: "Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment ceased pre-production of Cartel today. As much as we had hoped to begin filming this spring in Mexico City, the studio and its producing partners did not feel it was creatively ready to move forward under the timetable and budget we had established."
With the always watchable Josh Brolin upfront, the movie had great potential, even when Sean Penn dropped out. The website explained the problems lay with "concerns about the budget, the script, and the complexities of shooting a drug-related drama on location in Mexico." Brolin was signed to play a man hellbent on protecting his son after his wife is brutally murdered after mixing in the world of Mexican drug cartels.