The Lone Ranger

  • The lone ranger box office flops
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  • Directed By: Gore Verbinski
  • Written By: Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
  • Release Date: July 3, 2013
  • Domestic Distributor: Disney
  • Cast: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner

Box Office Info:
Budget: $250 million (estimated) Financed by: Disney
Domestic Gross: $89,302,115 Overseas Gross: $171,200,000

The Lone Ranger was set to go before the cameras in the fall of 2011, but Disney stopped the project from moving forward when the budget escalated to an estimated $260 – $275 million.  Parts of the screenplay were scaled back, some expensive vfx sequences were removed and salaries cut and deferred.  Disney then greenlit the production with a reduced, but still gargantuan $215 million budget.

Costs began to rise when the production went over schedule from weather related damage to sets, injured stuntmen and a fatality from a crew member drowning — which resulted in the Cal OSHA fining Disney $60,000 for safety violations.   The budget for The Lone Ranger grew to at least $250 million.  The irresponsible production costs, plus a global marketing blitz reported to be $150 million, ended with The Lone Ranger becoming the second largest financial disaster on record, with Disney’s Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo announcing a $190 million write-down on the picture.   Disney’s John Carter is the reigning champion of financial loss, with Disney taking a $200 million write down on that box office disaster.

Along with the bloated marketing blitz, additional exposure came from numerous cross promotional tie-ins, from Subway, Lego, NECA, Theodora & Callum, Will Leather Goods, Kawasaki and many more.  And for The Lone Ranger completist, you can waste your money on a Sterling Silver Lone Ranger Star Sheriff Badge Cufflinks by Robin Rotenier for about $500.

Disney positioned their potential franchise tentpole over the July 4th holiday and it was expected to pull in over $60 million during the 5-day frame.  The Lone Ranger bowed against Despicable Me 2 and the modest wide release of Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain.  Critics were very unkind to the picture and it came in below expectations with $29,210,849 for the weekend and $48,715,010 over the 5-day frame — miles behind Despicable Me 2 which led the charts.  The Lone Ranger plummeted 60.6% in its second weekend to $11,506,100 which ended its chances at breaking out.  It declined 61.9% in its third weekend to $4,380,047 and continued to post large weekly declines.  The domestic run ended with $89,302,115.

Overseas numbers were $171.2 million, solid numbers for a western, but deadly numbers for a western with about $400 million in production costs and marketing behind it.  Of the $260.5M worldwide cume, the mouse house would see returned about $143.2M after theaters take their percentage of the gross.  The potential franchise was killed off and star in grooming Armie Hammer suffered a major setback.  A few months after The Lone Ranger flopped, Disney ended its long term relationship with producer Jerry Bruckheimer after a string of expensive duds like Prince of Persia, Sorcerer’s Apprentice and G-Force.  Johnny Depp followed this film with the travesty Transcendence (2014), which also ended as a nuclear bomb.


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  1. The ironic part? The “Lone Ranger” property was acquired the year prior by Disney rival DreamWorks Animation as part of their acquisition of property holder Classic Media. In other words, had this been successful, it would have been really damn awkward to ask one of their biggest rivals if they could use their property.

  2. Worst Lone Ranger and Tonto…EVER! This movie was bad it made Clayton Moore come back to life, then die again, so he could say “This movie killed The Lone Ranger.”

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