[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter the monumental washout that was last year’s John Carter, Disney can’t really afford to have another film flop at the box office. Unfortunately, it’s starting to look as though that’s exactly what they’ve got with their take on the modern Western, The Lone Ranger. The Gore Verbinski directed star vehicle for Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer has yielded exceedingly poor results in its first two weeks of release, clocking up a mere $73m worldwide.
Contributing factors to the film’s poor performance so far are said to be the generally unfavourable reviews, and Johnny Depp’s take on the character of Tonto. The Guardian’s Ben Child writes that Depp’s signature ‘quirky’ performance “only serve(s) to unbalance (the film’s) dynamic”, especially when seen in conjunction with the much more understated, and relatively unknown Hammer.
The Lone Ranger has also been causing quite a bit of race-related controversy, which can’t be helping it too much in the box office stakes. Apart from casting Depp, a non-Native American, in the crucial Native American role of Tonto, the film has gone down in the opinions of many since it recently emerged that the designer of its tie-in accessories collection, Gabriel GoodBuffalo, who identified himself as Native American on his website (and was referred to as such in the press materials for the fashion line), is not in fact Native American. And since US law allows for the prosecution of anyone selling goods purporting to have been made by actual Native Americans even though they actually haven’t…Oh dear.
Box office analysts clued The Hollywood Reporter in to the amount that The Lone Ranger is expected to lose: at least $150m (£101m). That’s a rather sizeable chunk of change, especially when the marketing costs for the film ($175m) are also taken into account. There’s no danger of Disney going into the red, however; with the release of both Iron Man 3 and Monsters University this year, the superheroes and the computer generated creatures are holding fast at their end.
The film will be released in the UK on August 9th, but something tells us its reception here won’t be much better than in the rest of the cinema-going world.
Will you be going to see The Lone Ranger? What do you think of the casting of Johnny Depp as Tonto? Let us know via Twitter!