Disney is headed for a train wreck, and it’s not the type that the Lone Ranger can save the studio from.
It looks like The Lone Ranger will come out of the holiday weekend with about $50 million at the box office. While that may seem like a nice number, it’s not. The film has a reported budget of $215 million, but rumor is it was much higher than that, and more than likely came in over $250 million. Even going with the reported numbers, a $50 million opening is pretty much a disaster.
Disney was counting on this film to launch a new franchise, and with the combination of Gore Verbinski directing, Jerry Bruckheimer producing and Johnny Depp starring (remember, these three were behind the success of the original Pirate of the Caribbean), it seemed like this was going to be a slam dunk.
It wasn’t. It really couldn’t have been due to everything going against it.
- Westerns no longer do well. It is a dead genre in film, and it may come back some day, but there was no evidence that Disney should have put this much money into a Western.
- When was the last time the Lone Ranger was a relevant character? He hasn’t been seen or heard of in a major way for decades.
- The bloom is following off of Depp as of late. It had to happen some time, but he is not the definite box office hit he once was.
This marks the third big disaster of the summer, the other two being After Earth and White House Down. The studios need to take a serious look at what’s working, and what isn’t. And even what is working, these budgets have got to come back under control. I’m sorry, but in my mind no movie should cost $215 million (or more) to make. That’s just insanity.
The other lesson here? Disney really needs to rethink its live action projects. Believe me, by Monday everyone will be calling this “John Carter Redux.”