The Lone Ranger is set to be another enormous failure for Walt Disney Studios in the vein of John Carter ... so if you enjoy watching films flop, wildly prepare yourselves for another delightful disaster. Here are seven reasons The Lone Ranger will decisively fail.
Cowboys and Aliens arrived in theaters in 2011 after being directed and produced respectively by the box office dream team of Jon Favreau, director of Iron Man, and Steven Spielberg, film magnate. The film's production costs were $163 million, not to mention marketing and distribution costs, so the film definitely did not skimp on special effects or summer extravagance. What does that tell us? Effectively, nothing in particular. But if we analyze the overall trend for past Western movies, we learn that Cowboys and Aliens's failure did not come out of nowhere. 2004's Alamo and 1999's Wild Wild West are both examples of what were supposed to be summer hits that turned into unrequited box office disasters (almost destroying the reign of the Fresh Prince not to mention; you just had to After Earth didn't you...). Critics of this trend will point to True Grit and Django Unchained as counter-examples to this trend, but unfortunately these are mute examples. Both of these films were not marketed as box office tent-poles. They were marketed for what they were, classic Western remake and violent "Southern." As a result, they fulfilled their expectations; however, the trend of Western failures comes from the Western box office tent-pole. Cowboys it seems are no longer the film spectacle they once were.
If Cutthroat Island and Waterworld have taught me anything, it's that production problems are surely fore-bearers of box office disaster. Production problems can mean all sorts of difficulties in the making of a film, but the worst possible example is when the film's opening is setback, and the film's release date changes drastically. Werewolves? Where did that come from? Oh wait. The original draft of the film included werewolves. That's right. Cowboys and Werewolves. Somebody call Hollywood and tell them they are out of control. So essentially the werewolves set the film back a bit in terms of production timeline.
Add the annual GDP of Tuvalu and The Marshall Islands. The film budget of The Lone Ranger is still more. Hard to believe. But with a budget that ballooned to $250 million, the movie's costs wouldn't be covered if you added these two island nations' entire annual production. So why is this a problem? Budgets running out of control usually mean that the film producers do not have a concrete vision in mind when they start making the film. Without a vision going forward, that usually means that whatever the movie ends up being, it effectively is the result of massive rewrites and re-imaginings. So why is this a problem? Because when that happens, the final product does not bear the same sort of effective storytelling power it would have had, had it been the embodiment of a particularly enthralling tale from the beginning. And if werewolves are at any point a plot device, this move has definitely had some rewrites.
The Rum Diary. The Tourist. Dark Shadows. It seems that the days that Johnny Depp guaranteed a film's success is over. This goes largely with an overall pattern of film audience's disenchantment with actresses and actors. People no longer go see a movie just because Arnold Schwarzenegger is in it *cough cough The Last Stand.*
The next few weeks are going to be jam-packed with box office tent-poles. Man of Steel, Monsters University, White House Down, and Despicable Me 2 are all-set to be box office hits. By the time July 3 hits, movie watchers will likely feel worn out from emptying their wallets for $15 tickets. With such a wide variety of films coming before The Lone Ranger, it is likely that the casual film-goer will not feel any sort of drastic need to go see The Lone Ranger. In other words, without a superbly unique premise the film won't be the box office attraction Disney is hoping it to be.
Unfortunately for Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer, film-goers are creatures of habit. And as a result, they have become acquainted to films where color is used to create a sense of wonder. Alice in Wonderland, Avatar, and the Pirates of the Caribbean films are all box office hits that used color to expand the overall beauty of the film. Using a variety of colors keeps the viewer interested. The movie's trailer gives off a largely black and white feel to it. And for The Lone Ranger, which is set-up as a box office tentpole, the bland lack of color is sure to create at least some disinterest in the film.
It seems that the world-at-wide is not as interested in the more obscure American cultural staples as we are ... While Captain America might seem like a classic superhero here in the United States, in the global landscape he is much less known than other American heroes such as Spider-Man or Batman. Introducing a character like the Lone Ranger, well-known to most Americans from the classic TV show (you can almost hear that William Tell theme can't you?), is a much more difficult prospect in the world at large, where the same sort of relationship does not exist with these characters.