The Lone Ranger
- 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.