Why 'Lone Ranger' Team Shouldn't Blame Critics for Film Flopping

Why 'Lone Ranger' Team Shouldn't Blame Critics for Film Flopping

The stars of The Lone Ranger have a chip on their shoulders, and it’s in the shape of your garden variety film critic.

The film is one of the summer’s highest profile flops, failing to reignite interest in a beloved character not seen on screen since 1981’s The Legend of the Lone Ranger.

Stars Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, along with mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer are blaming … film critics … for the film’s box office failure.

 This is the deal with American critics. They’ve been gunning for our movie since it was shut down the first time,” Hammer said. “And I think that’s probably when most of the critics wrote their initial reviews….”

“I think the reviews were written when they heard Gore [Verbinksi] and Jerry and me were going to do ‘The Lone Ranger,'” Depp said. “Then their expectations of it that, you know, it must be a blockbuster. I didn’t have any expectations of that. I never do. Why would I?” …

“I think that they were reviewing the budget and not reviewing the movie,” Bruckheimer said. “The audience doesn’t care what the budget is. They pay the same amount to see the movie whether it cost a dollar or $20 million.

It’s best to give Hammer a pass here. He’s the new kid on the block who found himself in his first mega-motion picture. He’s likely licking his wounds, fearing what the movie’s failure might mean to his future prospects.

Depp and Bruckheimer are old pros and should know better. They understand the Hollywood system as well as anyone in their peer group. Movies haunted by lousy reviews still make a mint, just consider Grown Ups and its new sequel, Grown Ups 2.

The recent World War Z had all the bad buzz it could handle regarding its budget and numerous rewrites. Movie scribes couldn’t get enough of the delays and divisions regarding the film’s evolving story. Yet reviewers were generally kind to it, and the Brad Pitt vehicle wound up scoring both at home and overseas.

And let’s not forget a little 1997 movie that went way over budget and was expected to sink like, well, the Titanic.

As a film critic I often settle into my seat thinking about the buzz surrounding a film. The budget is too big. The stars said something dopey on the red carpet. The franchise should have ended two movies ago. It’s impossible to push those thoughts out of one’s mind. Once the movie begins that starts to fade for a very practical reason–no one wants to watch a lousy movie for the chance to write a snarky review later on.


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