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The Lone Ranger set to cost Disney $190 million as stars blame critics for flop

The Lone Ranger

Story by Jack Foley

THE Lone Ranger looks set to cost Disney somewhere between $160 and $190 million, it is revealed in the distributor’s third quarter results.

Overall, Disney said it had earned $1.85bn in the quarter to the end of June 2013, up from $1.83bn last year, with revenue from its theme parks and resorts up by 7% to $3.7bn and from cable network revenue up by 8%.

Although the official cost of The Lone Ranger won’t be revealed until next quarter’s figures, it looks destined to become a massive flop after an expensive marketing campaign also failed to improve the film’s box office performance.

Discussing the figures for the company as a whole, Disney’s chairman and chief executive, Bob Iger, said that he was generally happy with them as a whole.

He also said that while Iron Man 3 had been a box office smash earlier this year, it has had still fared worse than The Avengers the year before – but this was offset by Pixar movie Monsters University, which was doing better than Brave a year ago.

Alluding to The Lone Ranger, Mr Iger added that he appreciated the risks associated with making high-cost films (The Lone Ranger‘s budget is reported to be near $250 million) but felt they were still worth the risk.

“One way to rise above the din and the competition is with a big film, not just big budget, but big story, big cast, big marketing behind it,” he said.

Overall, he said: “We are confident that our strategy of creating high-quality branded content positions us well for the future.”

Mr Iger’s comments follow those made recently by The Lone Ranger‘s stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, in which they blamed US critics for contributing towards the film’s box office under-performance.

Bruckheimer, especially, felt that reviews had reflected the negative press the film had received while in production, telling Yahoo!: “I think they were reviewing the budget, not reviewing the movie. It’s unfortunate, because the movie is a terrific movie, it’s a great epic film, it has a lot of humour.

“It’s one of those movies that whatever the critics missed in it this time, they’ll review it in a few years and see that they made a mistake.”

Depp, meanwhile, said: “I think the reviews were written seven to eight months before we released the film. [The critics] had expectations that it must be a blockbuster. I don’t have any expectations of that. I never do.”

And Hammer accused critics of gunning for the film long before it was shown to the press, adding: “They decided to slit the jugular of our movie.”

Read our interview with Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski

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