The Lone Ranger On Track To Lose Disney $150 Million

Lone Ranger15

John Carter-sized flop’ is a phrase that’s bandied about a lot these days. I regularly use it myself, to describe indifferent meals at restaurants. Although the term might be a bit unfair – we can talk about how Disney mis-marketed John Carter until the day breaks – it has come to stand for a big budget, high-profile film by a major studio that foundered at the American box office. Now we might be able to replace that pejorative with a new title: The Lone Ranger.

The Lone Ranger opened to indifferent reviews – everything from ‘absolute dreck’ to ‘not as bad as it looks’ – and murmurs of discomfort over Johnny Depp playing a Native American speaking pidgeon-English and wearing a bird on his head. Why would anyone think that that’s offensive?

Anyways, it comes as no surprise, therefore, that many studio analysts are now predicting that the tent-pole film could stand to lose Disney $150 million.

The break-down of that prediction looks like this: production for The Lone Ranger cost $250 million (I understand most of it went to Johnny Depp’s bird-hat). The marketing alone cost $175 million. As it stands now – unless something changes – the film will gross $275 million worldwide. You do the math.

The Lone Ranger opened much lower than expected – $48.9 million as opposed to the predicted $60 million, according to THR – and has been trounced by the pudgy yellow minions from Despicable Me 2. Some analysts are even predicting upwards of a $190 million loss. Yikes.

So what went wrong? Well, first of all, The Lone Ranger had difficulty getting going early in production, which is never a good sign. Then there was the ‘Johnny Depp in “red face” ‘ problem. And finally it came along at a time when films are getting more expensive, and people are going to the movies less. Something, as the saying goes, has got to give.

The Lone Ranger is still less of a disaster for Disney than John Carter, but it’s close. Given that this one was anchored by a major A-list star, I think we can give the edge to the man in the white hat.

It’s highly unlikely that The Lone Ranger will ride again.

Comments (20)

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  1. neoanakinpottersays:

    I don’t know why Disney is even worried. So many headlines read: “Lone Ranger to lose Disney $150 mil.”

    Yeah, Disney has a word for things like $150 Million Dollars: “Chump Change.” As if they didn’t already make it all back (& *THEN* some) w/ the crap-fest that was “Iron Man 3”.

    1. Laurensays:

      I don’t think they’re really worried. It might be a concern for the industry in general when a film anchored by a major star that cost so much to make is likely to lose money.

    2. Norman Dostalsays:

      wrong-150 million is a lot of money to any studio. Iron Man 3 was pretty great-well over 90% critics agreed on that…

  2. Chris Thomassays:

    Obviously not proof-read… embarrassing grammar.

    1. Guestsays:

      At least I know how to spell proofread.

      1. Chris Thomassays:

        Proof-read is also a valid way to express the thought, just a less elegant one. I’m mildly bored, so…

        -Indifferent is nonsensical word-choice in the second sentence, as you’re supposed to be describing something that is awful, not something neutral.
        -“foundered” =/= “floundered”
        -Indifferent used incorrectly again, 25% on RT and the same or worse elsewhere. Negative reviews.
        -Pidgin English
        -I see you changed ‘Why would anything think that that’s offensive?”, but the sentence is still wretched. Try “Why would anyone find that offensive?”
        -“It comes as no surprise, therefore, that many studio analysts
        are predicting the tent-pole film could lose Disney
        $150 million.” This could be trimmed even more, you need to learn to write with brevity. Too many throwaway words (Especially adjectives), entire sentences that could be done away with.
        -“If current predictions are accurate the film will gross $275 million worldwide; you do the math.”

        Seems like the article was edited from the first time I read it and a lot of things got changed, but it’s still poorly written. Take some pride in your work.

      2. Laurensays:

        Foundered: to fill with water or sink; to fail or break down.
        The Lone Ranger broke down at the box office.

        Indifferent meals – not good, but not terrible, like The Lone Ranger, and John Carter. I am using it to describe something that was ‘meh’, not something that was terrible. Word of mouth has largely placed The Lone Ranger into the ‘indifferent’ category.

        The sentence you want to put a semi-colon into is perfectly acceptable. I was interested in emphasizing ‘You do the math.’

        You’re right that there are too many throwaway words and that I spelled pidgin incorrectly. For that, I apologize.

        Proofread is both the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary spelling, and the Oxford.

        You don’t like my style. You appear to feel that disliking a style, or a film, equals ‘wretchedness.’ I’m sorry you feel that way, but your opinion does not negate my word choice.

        Thanks for your input.

      3. skwirrlsays:

        Get some aloe somebody just got a horrible burn. And I just got a raging clue for you Lauren.

  3. two bitsays:

    I loved John Carter! LOVED IT!

    I wish it was a bigger success for sequels because I wanted to see more of Woola and the incredibly gorgeous Lynn Collins. I don’t know why Kitsch was dissed, he did a good job…

    1. Norman Dostalsays:

      John Carter wasnt anything special-raise the bar, dude-

    2. Laurensays:

      I know a number of people who loved John Carter. It suffered from poor marketing and lukewarm reviews, though.

    3. Jor-elsays:

      I also loved JC one of the better more thoughtful big tentpoles of recent years . As with The Lone Ranger the Disney backlash was in full force as well as a truly bungled marketing job done on it. I too dream of a sequel that is never going to happen. Have been searching out the old novels instead .

    4. Calinsays:

      I agree. John Carter was a great story — adventure, romance, humor, with beautiful scenary and top-notch special effects. I will never understand why movies like Avatar or Iron Man attract more viewers. Still hoping to see Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris in the next John Carter movie.

  4. Disney loversays:

    I agree with the author. John Carter wad so bad, we left after the first 40 minutes.

    1. ccdevsays:

      anyone who loves john carter has no appreciation of good plotlines, understanding of pacing nor decent characterization. it was crap movie – the kind producers say “throw in some CGI and people will be amazed” kinda film.

  5. winds of changesays:

    I looooooooooooove the Lone Ranger! But I became totally confused when I learned Depp was playing Tonto – and his costume -Depp and the dress were too far removed from the “real” Tonto – Native American – authentic – strong – serene. Could Disney find a Native American to play the role of Tonto? Even my 5-year-old grandson said “the pirate of the Caribbean is Tonto”? I love fictional movies that could be reality – couldn’t envision the pirate as an Indian so I lost my desire to see the movie.

  6. Sebastian Thomassays:

    I worked on lone ranger and top to bottom they went over budget.
    Heck , even the extras demanded more money . AND GOT IT.
    Everyone on this set knew it was just a paycheck from the beginning…
    Everyone knew it was going to flop, everyone.

  7. trigabasays:

    This article was clearly written by someone who knows absolutely nothing about the theatrical feature business.

    Production woes? Racial insensitivity? People aren’t going to the movies anymore? By that logic, World War Z, Pirates 2, and the month of June should all have bombed. Nice try.

  8. Taguro Izumosays:

    There was nothing to watch, so I ended up watching it, it`s not bad. But I would never invest so much movie in such a poor concept. Altough I am sure they will make some money in the foreign markets. John carter loss, unlikely. 5/10 movie.

  9. skwirrlsays:

    The reason Lone Ranger tanked. There is no relevance to the target generation its aimed at. None of them were alive and none of their damn parents were alive! The last time LR was on TV was almost 60 years ago. This is a recipe for disaster. If you’re going to make a massive budget movie you have to have source material of relevance. What about PotC you ask? It’s got a ride at Disneyland that everybody in the target generation knows. They could make a movie based off It’s a Small World and it would do better than Lone Ranger/John Carter.

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