Even before the world was placed on the most unexpected of tenterhooks waiting to find out whether or not he’s actually a cannibal, Armie Hammer and Disney didn’t have the best track record for working together anyway.
The actor played the title role in The Lone Ranger, Gore Verbinski’s ode to excess that went down in history as one of the biggest box office bombs ever. The director and star Johnny Depp must have thought that transplanting the Pirates of the Caribbean formula to the Western genre would yield similar success, but after shelling out $225 million just to bring it to the big screen, the Mouse House wound up losing up to $190 million on the mega budget bust.
Hammer also voiced Jackson Storm in Pixar’s Cars 3, the animation outfit’s second lowest-rated movie ever on Rotten Tomatoes as well as the fourth lowest-grossing at the box office, excluding the pandemic-ravaged totals of Onward and Soul. He’s probably not very high on the studio’s wish list of names they’re dying to collaborate with, then, but they’re stuck with him thanks to the Fox takeover and Kenneth Branagh’s mystery sequel Death on the Nile.
The Murder on the Orient Express follow-up has been delayed multiple times and is currently set for release in September, which is reportedly causing some headaches for Disney from a marketing perspective, as it’s said that “Hammer’s situation is very much on the studio’s radar and is an absolute concern” for them.
It would be easy enough to market the project without featuring Armie Hammer at all, but according to one insider, the trouble could start if his career winds up getting completely torpedoed before then, making Death on the Nile a much trickier proposition to sell to audiences.