Disney's Ex-Chairman Suspended 'The Lone Ranger' Production Over Budget Fears
Disney is reeling after The Lone Ranger was thumped at the box-office
Disney's head honchos are reflecting on a "disappointing" and "frustrating" few days after its $250 million budget blockbuster The Lone Ranger took just $48 million over an extended five day weekend. The dismal performance marks a serious blunder for producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and lead actor Johnny Depp.
"It's very disappointing," Disney executive vice-President of worldwide distribution Dave Hollis told the Hollywood Reporter, "Everything was perfect on paper, so today was incredibly frustrating." The reboot of the 1950s radio show, and 1950s television show, starring Armie Hammer as John Reid, rolled out in theaters on July 3 though Cowen & Co analyst Doug Cruetz predicted a $100 million write down for Disney - which will require explaining.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Disney stumped up a further $175 million for a worldwide marketing campaign - taking its total budget to $425 million, an incredible amount that will not be matched from box-office and DVD sales. Experts suggest it may earn $150 million for a worldwide total of $275 million.
In 2011, Disney took a $200 million loss on the dud sci-fi action movie John Carter, which cost some $250 million to produce and cost chairman Rich Ross his job. However, before his departure, Ross had suspended production of The Lone Ranger because of concerns over the budget in the wake of the Cowboys & Aliens disaster. The company's latest effort will fare better than John Carter - given Johnny Depp will always attract cinemagoers - though it's very much a case of damage limitation.
Early estimates suggest animated sequel Despicable Me 2 made $82.5m to take the top-spot at the box-office and comfortably make back its budget.
The Lone Ranger: Johnny Depp [L] As Tonto and Armie Hammer [R] As John Reid.