'Lone Ranger' ambushed at box office, Disney may face loss

Thu Jul 4, 2013 5:39pm EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Ronald Grover and Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Lone Ranger," Walt Disney Co's big-budget western starring Johnny Depp, performed below expectations on Wednesday night, raising the possibility that the movie could saddle the media giant with a loss on the film.

The film, which cost an estimated $225 million to produce, generated $9.7 million during Wednesday showings, falling well behind "Despicable Me 2" from Comcast's Universal Pictures, which sold $34.3 million at the domestic box office, according to studio estimates.

Both films opened with limited showings on Tuesday. For the two-day period, "Despicable Me 2" generated $39 million and "The Lone Ranger" saw $11.7 million.

Disney estimates "The Lone Ranger" will sell $45 million for the Wednesday through Sunday July Fourth holiday weekend, below industry experts' initial forecasts of $60 million to $70 million over the five days.

"If it does end up grossing less than $50 million over the five-day stretch, it will most certainly go down as a misfire," said Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, which tracks movie box office prospects.

The film's poor opening is a black eye for producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and star Depp, the trio behind Disney's ultra-successful "Pirates of the Caribbean" series.

Disney made their prior success a key part of marketing the current film, and Depp's international appeal still could help the film's overseas box office.

"The Lone Ranger" is an action remake of a 1930s radio show and television series in the 1950s. Armie Hammer plays John Reid, the lawman who dons a mask to fight injustice in the Old West. This time, though, it is the Lone Ranger's Native American sidekick Tonto, played by Depp, who takes center stage.   Continued...

 
Cast member Johnny Depp poses at the world premiere of "The Lone Ranger" at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California in this June 22, 2013, file photo. "The Lone Ranger," Walt Disney Co's big-budget western starring Depp, performed below expectations on Wednesday night, raising the possibility that the movie could saddle the media giant with a loss on the film. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files