After only five days of major release, “The Lone Ranger” has already “bombed for the Walt Disney Co., opening with just $29.4 million over the weekend, and a disappointing $48.9 million since Wednesday,” Jake Coyle wrote for the Associated Press. “The trouncing for Disney was especially painful because of the high cost of ‘The Lone Ranger,’ which reportedly cost at least $225 million to make.”
The Hollywood Reporter predicted those opening numbers foretell an eventual worldwide box-office haul of $275 million for “The Lone Ranger” — a sum that, after accounting for the film’s marketing budget, would incur about $150 million in losses for Disney.
Although the prospect of losing a nine-figure sum is never palatable for Disney, in reality the loss won’t affect the company’s movie strategy much, if at all. For starters, the summertime success of other Disney properties such as “Iron Man 3” ($1.2 billion in global ticket sales) and “Monsters University” ($400 million worldwide and counting) more than makes up for a large bookkeeping write-down due to “The Long Ranger.”
Furthermore, as Kyle Stock reported Monday for Bloomberg Businessweek, the nature of family-friendly film franchises dictates that Disney will continue swinging for the fences.
“If Disney’s studio executives green-light a massive hit such as its seminal ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ they trigger a lucrative chain of sequels, toy sales, and amusement park rides,” Stock wrote. “If they roll out a stinker like ‘John Carter,’ the flop virtually disappears on financial statements.”