The flick, which stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, cost Disney $215 million dollars to produce. And to make matters worse of the $175.5 million only $86.9 million has been raked in domestically.
Word of Disney’s projected $160 to $190 million dollar loss next quarter, in large part because of The Lone Ranger’s dismal numbers, came straight from Disney’s CFO Jay Rasulo via an earnings call with analysts.
Maybe we’re just not into westerns. Other Disney films like Iron Man 3 and Monsters University raked in huge amounts of cash for Disney. Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer blamed critics that trashed the movie for the disappointing numbers.
Via Yahoo UK:
“I think the reviews were written seven-to-eight months before we released the film,” said Johnny Depp. “I think the reviews were written when they heard Gore [Verbinksi] and Jerry [Bruckheimer] and me were going to do ‘The Lone Ranger’. They had expectations that it must be a blockbuster. I didn’t have any expectations of that. I never do.”
Hammer added: “While we were making it we knew people were gunning for it. I think it was the popular thing when the movie hit rocky terrain they jumped on the bandwagon to try and bash it. They tried to do the same thing with to ‘World War Z’, it didn’t work, the movie was successful. Instead they decided to slit the jugular of our movie.”
Despite its negative critic reviews, I thought The Lone Ranger was a well executed film. I went in there with low expectations due to the rumors I’d heard, even knowing that it was a box office flop for Disney. But, I’m determined to change your minds!
1) The film was smart. It was a mature telling of one of the most important turning points in American History: the expansion of the railroad into the west. It even featured a battle between white men and Native Americans. Uh, when was the last time a major motion picture attempted to write a script with this period genre? And Disney? Pocahontas, but let’s not talk about that. Or how Avatar retold Pocahontas and took all of its money.
2) The score was fantastic. If anything, watching men ride around on horses in the middle of the desert got increasingly more interesting with the music.
3) The costumes, casting, and overall design for the film was meticulous. From scene to scene, the placement of props, costume, and even things as simple as dirt on a man’s face made an impact on the experience. Go Disney!
4) The story still brought up the classic Disney moral issues you expect to watch when walking into the theater: friendship, greed, death, violence, home, and justice.
Why it wasn’t as successful as it could have been:
1) Disney was not very good at marketing this film to the right audience. While the history was very important to the plot, it was probably hard for a younger audience to follow.
2) Violence. It was actually a pretty grotesque film with a lot of death shown. Note: yes, it is a Western film, however, the amount of death that was actually shown on screen was a little upsetting. Much of the shooting and weaponry could have easily been implied and we would have known that the character was dead.
3) It was long. It was 168 minutes. That’s too long for your butt to sit.
4) It took a while to get into. The introduction to the film was confusing. At the end of the film, all of the loose ends come together and you realize why you watched some of the beginning footage, but it was really hard to grasp.
5) Movie demographics right now. When was the last time a Western movie was made? It was a toss up for Disney. On the one hand, they could have had a surprise success considering this is the first commercial Western film Hollywood has seen in years. On the other hand, it was a gamble because it’s the only Western film Hollywood has put out in years. Unfortunately, movies right now are relying on a different genre: sci-fi, fantasy, and other-worldly.
The latest box office hits come from stories that aren’t “normal.” Why? Because the technology of film has become a competition. Since Avatar and the popularity of Twilight, super hero flicks and book inspired blockbusters have taken the lead. Hollywood works in rotations…the 90’s and early 2000s were huge on historical films such as Titanic, Gladiator, The Mummy, etc. It’s been years since an original adventure movie has made box office gold. Again, that’s why Disney took a gamble when they put out The Prince of Persia a few years ago. Nonetheless, one day Westerns will have an audience again. Until then, the American cowboy will stand to be analyzed by literature experts and film junkies alike.
I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I have to say! Oh, and Armie Hammer…what a lovely man.
Shout out to talkfamousx3 for the review!