The Lone Ranger
|Budget: $250 million (estimated)||Financed by: Disney|
|Domestic Gross: $89,302,115||Domestic Distributor: Disney|
|Overseas Gross: $171,200,000||
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Produced by: Jerry Bruckheimer
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 removed and salaries cut and deferred. Disney then greenlit the production with a reduced, but still gargantuan $215 million budget. Costs began to rise again, when 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 estimated budget grew to at least $250 million.
Along with the irresponsible budget, Disney threw more cash away at a global marketing blitz reported to be $150 million. 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 Sherriff Badge Cufflinks by Robin Rotenier for about $500.
Disney positioned the hopeful new franchise 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. In its quarter financial report, Disney expected to take a $190 million write-down on The Lone Ranger. 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.