Johnny Depp is known for playing some of the most eccentric and unconventional characters, generating millions in revenue for studios. But even his eccentricism could not save Disney’s The Lone Ranger, leading the studio to lose more than $150 million. The movie already had started on the wrong foot, but even Depp’s formidable popularity was not enough to stop the movie from becoming one of the worst flops of Disney.
While it wasn’t Depp’s first flop, but one in a row of many flops, the movie’s failure wasn’t entirely the actor’s fault. There were many reasons for the movie’s failure but here are the Top 3 reasons that eventually made Disney lose about $150 million.
3. Lack of Public Interest
There was once a time when The Lone Ranger franchise was top-rated and part of popular culture. However, those days were long gone, with the audience already engrossed in franchises like Marvel or DC, who had just received a fresh breath of life generating considerable buzz.
The lack of interest was also because The Lone Ranger was facing severe competition. Movies like Despicable Me 2 were set to release around the same time, attracting a huge number of families and younger audiences, further leading Johnny Depp‘s $250 million movie to flop.
2. A Huge Production Budget
The Lone Ranger franchise had already been long dead and the movie was the studio’s attempt to revive it. For any revived project the first and foremost point is to maintain the minimal possible budget, avoiding the potential to experience huge losses. However, Disney seemed to not have been aware of the fact that the budget soon spanned out of control reaching about $250 million including an added $150 million in marketing costs (via Variety).
This was an extraordinary budget for any movie whose popularity had died down ages ago. Since the studio was unable to control its expenditure incurring a huge loss was a given seeing the various reasons that helped it bomb.
1. Controversy And Negativity
The major reason why The Lone Ranger flopped was due to the negative press and controversies surrounding it. The crowd-pleasing tactic of making the Lone Ranger narrative fit the conventional crowd only led critics to bombard it with negative reviews.
Casting Johnny Depp, a non-Comanche to portray the role of a Native American was perhaps the biggest reason the movie failed. His claim of being a Native American descendant and getting an honor membership of a native tribe was not helpful at all, further causing people to boycott it for being culturally insensitive. Unlike Depp’s previous outlandish roles, his portrayal of Tonto was further blasted for being stereotypical and convoluted.
Despite huge losses, Disney’s The Lone Ranger has become a cult classic over the years. Overlooking the critical criticism or film pundits, movies are meant to be enjoyed and Johnny Depp’s The Lone Ranger provides multiple such opportunities despite its many flaws.
The Lone Ranger can be streamed on Disney+.