‘The Lone Ranger’ Bombs on Opening Weekend

Johnny Depp as Tonto in The Lone Ranger

Photo credit: Disney Enterprises Inc.

Did you think Disney learned a lesson with John Carter?

Clearly not.

Operating on the same $250-million budget as the 2012 bomb starring the exceptionally talented, yet relatively unknown, Taylor Kitsch, Disney’s The Lone Ranger, co-starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, brought a similarly sad box office return.

I’m no Hollywood executive, but here’s a good rule of modern cinema: If there are no superheros in the movie, $250 million is too much money to spend.

Hitting and missing with nine-figure budgets isn’t something that will sit well with the billionaire mouse. This is especially true when the film was released on a holiday weekend, and an animated film made for a third of The Lone Ranger‘s budget snagged twice the haul.

Movie-lovers, you’re about to see a paradigm shift in big-budget movie madness. It seems there’s more profit margin in films with lower budgets and better stories.

With The Lone Ranger, Disney would have been better off casting a Native American actor as Tonto and abandoning the Pirates of the Caribbean CGI to go with some old-school stunts and spaghetti western action. That would have taken a budget of $100 million, maybe less. And if well executed, the film likely would have enjoyed more critical acclaim and audience curiosity.

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