'The Lone Ranger' Looks Like a $150 Million Loss

Lone Ranger

America has spoken, and it really isn't all that interested in seeing Disney's take on The Lone Ranger -- which is kind of a big deal for the studio's bottom line, seeing as how director Gore Verbinski reportedly spent $250 million even before the major marketing campaign kicked in.

Although it's obviously still early going, the Hollywood Reporter and We Got This Covered have started thumbing through the data, and it doesn't look good. In fact, it appears as though the new-look Lone Ranger -- which was designed as the first building block in a new franchise -- could end up losing $150 million.

The upshot, according to analysts, is that Disney is likely to approach new projects with even more caution; as the Los Angeles Times put it, the studio will "reinforce its resolve to double down on less risky sequels and lower its spending on original live-action films."

Given that Disney wasn't exactly known for being daring to begin with, this is sad (and borderline frightening) news for film buffs. Of course, hardcore movie fans don't exactly depend on Disney for their fix, but with its extraordinarily deep pockets and copyright control over a growing list of dependable franchises, the studio's power and reach can't be overestimated, and its approach to moneymaking in an ever-more-uncertain box office climate has an impact on the way other companies try to compete.

In essence, it appears as though The Lone Ranger's failure is being interpreted to mean that audiences don't respond to characters they don't already know -- which, if you ask us, is exactly the wrong lesson to take away from this particular flop, but that's probably why we aren't in a Hollywood boardroom. Eventually, there isn't going to be any room left at the multiplex for anything that isn't a sequel, reboot, or would-be tentpole. Where does that leave the people who really love moviegoing? Watching independent new releases at home. Eventually, not even 3D/IMAX surcharges are going to be enough to make up for their absence.

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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