Back to The Lone Ranger: Breathing Your Own Exhaust in La-La Land

The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp, Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski, Armie Hammer, DisneyWhat do you say when you have created a movie that’s a critical debacle and a public embarrassment that generates a multi-million-dollar loss?  You whine, “It’s not my fault!”  

That’s what Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Director Gore Verbinski and the two lead actors are saying about the disaster that is The Lone Ranger. We were unfortunate enough to see this movie before the reviews came out and regretted that decision for all of its 149-minute running time. Believe me, it seemed even longer.

Blaming the Critics

In an interview with Yahoo! Movies (UK and Ireland) the men involved in creating this flick lay the blame for its failure not on themselves but on the film critics who panned it pretty much across the board. They thought the critics had been gunning for The Lone Ranger, “since it was shut down the first time,” and that they were reviewing the production problems instead of the movie itself. Johnnie Depp actually says that it’s “a very brave movie” but the critics wrote the reviews months before it even came out. Umm, no.

  • But The Lone Ranger tanked two years ago because it was a bad story told badly—very, very badly.

    Big ego with a bird on his head

    Despite ongoing production delays and bad decisions that delayed filming over and over again …

  • Despite being revised, rewritten, re-imagined and re-launched …
  • Despite massive budget overruns …
  • Despite a bad script and bad acting …
  • Despite Johnny Depp’s ego trip that turned Tonto into the brains (albeit somewhat flaky) of the outfit and John Reid into an idiot …
  • Despite flights of fancy that went far beyond the ridiculous …
  • Despite inaccuracies, inconsistencies and lack of continuity …

They thought @LoneRanger was a good movie.  Umm, no.

Breathing Their Own Exhaust

To use a high-tech phrase, they are breathing their own exhaust. I suppose when you’re a big, famous and very rich Hollywood producer, director, or actor, it’s hard to cowboy up and admit that you did not only a bad job but an extremely bad job indeed. We see this kind of denial in the corporate world all the time as CEOs, from IBM’s Virginia Rometty to H-P’s Ray Lane would rather point the finger elsewhere. I think, though, that the egos are even bigger and the separation from reality is far greater in La-La Land than anywhere else.

Today Ben Fritz of The Wall Street Journal reported on the magnitude of The Lone Ranger’s failure. In “Disney Warns of Lone Ranger Loss,” Mr. Fritz reports that Disney “expects to lose between $160 million and $190 million on the film in the current quarter.”  As @WSJ says, that’s an awfully big chunk of money.

What the People Say

IMDB, The Lone RangerThe Lone Ranger cost approximately $250 million to make and has so far grossed $177 million globally. Although the movie is, “on track to take in approximately $280 million once its overseas roll-out is complete,” Disney has to split that money with the theaters that often set aside multiple screens and then had to scramble to fill in with other, better films. Disney also has to use the profits to pay for approximately “$100 million in costs for marketing and film prints.”

Critics aside, let’s look at what ordinary folks had to say about The Lone Ranger. IMDB gives it a Moviemeter score of 54. Over 30,000 viewers rated it a 67 out of 100. That’s better than the Metascore of 37 out of 100 that resulted from Metacritic’s consolidation of 44 critical reviews but it was still a D when I went to school. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a Tomatometer score of 28% Rotten with over 80,000 viewers awarding it a 61% Liked. That’s still a D.Rotten Tomatoes, Tomatometer, The Lone Ranger





Riding Into the Sunset

Jerry Bruckeimer thinks the critics will re-review The Lone Ranger in a few years and “find that they made a mistake.” Umm, no. I expect The Lone Ranger to ride off into the sunset, never to be seen again.

And that’s a good thing, kemo sabe.