Disney's The Lone Ranger has bombed at the box office, and according to studio insiders it could lose up $150 million. I saw this coming from a mile away, and I'm shocked that Disney never saw it happening. I guess they bet on Johnny Depp pulling in the Pirates of the Caribbean crowd. The only problem is, this movie is not Pirates of the Caribbean, and it didn't work. It's a western, and westerns aren't blockbuster hits these days. I hoped I would be wrong about the movie bombing, but I wasn't.
I was actually looking forward to the movie, but everything about it ended up being mediocre. It had some fun moments, but for the most part I thought the movie was a mess. I'm a fan of westerns, and unfortunately this ended up being a disappointing film.
The movie was directed by Gore Verbinski, and it was based on the 1930s radio show and 1950s television series. It's not like there was already a built in audience for the movie. The Lone Ranger doesn't really have a big following anymore. Over the last five days it made $48.9 million domestically. To put things in perspective, the studio spent $250 million making the movie and another $175 million on worldwide marketing.
THR says, "Given its poor opening and stiff July competition, box office experts now calculate that Lone Ranger will reach only $125 million domestically, if that. Overseas, it may earn $150 million for a worldwide total of $275 million. In 2011, Disney was forced to take a $200 million write-down when the ill-fated John Carter -- costing more than $250 million to produce -- topped out at $282 million worldwide." Disney executive vp worldwide distribution, Dave Hollis had this to say in a statement,
"It's very disappointing. Everything was perfect on paper, so today was incredibly frustrating."
What I want to know is: who was doing their paperwork?! That person should be fired. They could have just asked me, and I could have told them it was doomed from the beginning. I was talking about it over a year ago, saying, "This will be the most expensive western film ever made. Cowboys & Aliens only had a budget of about $160, and that had a ton of special effects and sci-fi elements, and it bombed at the box office. I have a feeling The Lone Ranger is going to bomb as well."
No Western film ever would need a budget of $250 million. Another version of this movie could have been made for less than $100 million, and it could have ended up being a better film. Look at the Coen Brothers' True Grit! They made that one for only $38 million, and guess what? It was a better film that pulled in over $251 million worldwide, which, by the way is one of the most profitable western films ever made. There was a right way and a wrong way to make The Lone Ranger, and Disney obviously did it the wrong way.Even though this movie isn't going to do as well as Disney hoped, the studio will be fine. They've had strong box office returns for Iron Man 3 and Monsters University. They also have Thor: The Dark World coming out later on this year.
Did you see The Lone Ranger over the weekend? If so, what did you think of it? Did you expect the movie to fail?