Monday, July 1, 2013
Flop Watch: The Lone Ranger
Heading into the Independence Day (long) weekend, which will actually start Wednesday for many folks, the big question at the box office is will The Lone Ranger flop? Here are my thoughts…
As has been documented extensively, the film has an extremely high budget! It has a far higher budget than any Western should have. But, then again, this is no ordinary Western. This is a “Disney tent pole summer potentially franchise starting Western produced by Jerry Bruckheimer”. Since the budget has ballooned into the $250+ range, the film would have to come out like gangbusters to recoup that kind of investment. Going up against Despicable Me 2, I would be shocked if Ranger opened at Number 1 and owned the weekend. In fact, I’ll go on a limb now to say it won’t happen. Despicable Me 2 will most surely earn the top spot as families flock to animated features that appeal to children as well as adults (look at Monsters University, which stayed in the lead this weekend in its second week of release).
So, look for critics and industry watchers to jump on The Lone Ranger bashing bandwagon. With a troubled start (Disney scrapping the project over budget fears, then green lighting it again), and a long production history, I promise you there are those who want this movie to fail! Also, look for critics to point to the picture as evidence of the “death of the Western,” and how the genre is no longer relevant. For those who care what critics say, this sort of word-of-mouth will hurt the film.
I expect The Lone Ranger to be a moderate success. However, with its high production cost, the odds of being a blockbuster are already stacked against this film. My hope is that a sequel is still green lit, as I long for more big-budget Westerns on the silver screen. My final prediction: The Lone Ranger will not be a flop the epic proportion of Heaven’s Gate, but it will not exactly set the box office on fire, either. I hope I am wrong, but we’ll know this weekend. Have you seen the film? Let me know in the comments section what you think of it.