Johnny Depp and Idris Elba can’t save big bucks Hollywood flops

per the UK Express:


£141m LONE RANGER follows Pacific Rim as yet another big bucks flop. Is this the end of the movie blockbuster?

Published: Sun, July 21, 2013

Lone-Ranger-star-Johnny-Depp-The-film-was-a-huge-bust-in-America-Lone Ranger star Johnny Depp: The film was a huge bust in America

It’s A bloodbath at the box office. Last weekend marked the fourth big budget bomb of the summer as monsters v robots extravaganza Pacific Rim was crushed in its opening weekend in America. The £118million spectacle lost out to the cute Despicable Me 2 and Adam Sandler in Grown Ups 2, despite the latter being one of the year’s worst reviewed films.

Directed by Guillermo Del Toro, the event picture grossed just £24million, way off what it needs to break even once marketing costs are taken into consideration and well down on the £43million achieved by World War Z. Or the colossal £114million of Iron Man 3. In the UK it was a flat-out flop with a meek £2.1million. It seems that Steven Spielberg’s prediction of an “implosion” in Hollywood is coming true sooner than even he anticipated: “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even half a dozen of these mega-budget movies are going to go crashing to the ground,” he said last month.

That’s just what is happening as audiences reject a succession of bloated blockbusters starring some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

The Lone Ranger, out in the UK in August (budget: £141million and counting), bombed in its opening weekend in America, earning just £32million over the five-day July 4 holiday.

It is unlikely to earn £66million in total and Disney analysts are predicting a write-down of up to £125million, not far off the £131million hit Disney took on the flop John Carter.

The picture reunited the team behind the Pirates of The Caribbean franchise: Johnny Depp, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, but failed to reach as broad an audience, playing to an older crowd more familiar with the original radio and TV series about the mythic gunslinger and his sidekick Tonto.

It has been troubled since production was suspended in August 2011 by then Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross, as the budget spiralled to £164million.

It was cut to £141million but rose again during production thanks to poor weather and complex action sequences: the filmmakers constructed six miles of railway track in New Mexico for live-action stunt work.

With estimated worldwide marketing costs of £115million it will have to earn an impossible £329million to break even after theatre owners take their percentage.

The Lone Ranger was not the first high profile miss of a crowded summer. Will Smith had a rare flop with his £85million apocalyptic sci-fi adventure After Earth, which has earned just £38million in North America, his lowest grossing film since Ali in 2001.

It was released by Sony Pictures, which suffered another financial headache with White House Down, a £99million action spectacle about a terrorist takeover of the White House.

Starring Channing Tatum as an aspiring secret service agent who saves the day it earned a mere £16million in its opening weekend in America, well down on figures required to break even and much less than the sums achieved by director Roland Emmerich’s other movies including 2012 which debuted to £43million in 2009.

Emmerich agrees that a crisis is looming with studios pursuing an unsustainable model of making fewer movies at inflated costs. Budgets up to £130million are now the norm.

“Steven Spielberg is totally right,” he told the Sunday Express. “When you want to do something small and interesting you have a really tough time trying to get the money together. And when you want to do a $150million or $200million extravaganza you get the money just like that.

“It’s upsetting because I see myself as a filmmaker and I want to alternate interesting films with big films and it’s hard to do.”

He points to the absurdity of director Steven Soderbergh going to a cable TV company to fund his Liberace movie, Behind The Candelabra, despite it starring Michael Douglas and costing only £16million.

“When Steven Soderbergh has to go to HBO to get it done, then you know there’s something wrong,” said Emmerich, “and Steven Spielberg needed 10 years to get Lincoln together and that nearly went to HBO at the last moment. This is Steven Spielberg!”

Joss Whedon shares Emmerich’s exasperation. When the director of last summer’s hugely successful Avengers Assemble wanted to make a micro-budget black-and-white version of Much Ado About Nothing, he funded it himself.

Lone Ranger, Hollywood, Pacific Rim, blockbusters, Will Smith, Johnny DeppWill and Jaden Smith stars of After Earth which saw diasppointing takings

The Lone Ranger bombed in its opening weekend in America

“Studios only want to make $200million blockbusters or found footage horror films for less than $3million. There is nothing in between,” he said. “We made Much Ado with our own money and our own studio that my wife and I created exactly for this reason.”

Is the model sustainable? No studio is losing its shirt. Yet. Disney stock remained stable after the weak numbers for The Lone Ranger, in part because of Iron Man 3 (over £790million worldwide) and Pixar’s Monsters University. It also now owns the Star Wars franchise, to be re-launched in 2015.

Balance sheets have long been bucked up by international grosses, with markets like China and Japan expanding at two and a half times the pace of America.

Even so, the foreign box office is down 13 per cent on last year. This might reflect a cooling toward 3D, but the pressure is on foreigners to save Pacific Rim for backers Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros.

Meanwhile, Universal is braced for its first flop of the summer this weekend with sci-fi comedy R.I.P.D. starring Ryan Reynolds. The £85million picture is “looking like the third big-budget box office flop in a row after The Lone Ranger and last weekend’s Pacific Rim,” reports trade bible Variety.

What’s worrying is that all these turkeys were all based on original ideas. However bad they may be, no one wants Hollywood to abandon its originality. Or what’s left of it.

Box office disappointments ‘Lone Ranger,’ ‘White House Down,’ and ‘Pacific Rim’ have industry worried about future of blockbusters

Per the New York Daily News


FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2013, 6:20 PM

Crowded field at the multiplex this summer even hurt sure-thing ‘Hangover, Part III’ and threatens to turn ‘R.I.P.D.’ into another box office bust.



How the West Was Lost: Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in ‘The Lone Ranger,’ a $200 million disappointment.

The heat has been turned up on Hollywood studios this summer.

After several high-profile tentpole movies in a row — “White House Down,” “The Lone Ranger” and “Pacific Rim” — tanked at the box office, industry watchers are nervous that the blockbuster model is nearing a tipping point.

“These are films are fall into formulas that have been successful in other iterations,” says Ira Deutchman, chair of the film program at Columbia University.

“I think that it is a sign that the formula that Hollywood thought was going to always work for them is reaching its limitations.

“Too many studios, too many filmmakers are chasing the same audience with same formula — tons of effects and explosions — and people are getting burned out.”

This summer has also been chock full of movies that critics and moviegoers have agreed are not worth the price of the popcorn.

Take “The Lone Ranger,” a $200 million adaptation of a Western character last relevant in pop culture in the ‘50s from the television series starring Clayton Moore.

“Even before ‘The Lone Ranger’ came out, it’s not exactly like the entire culture has been clamoring for a new ‘Lone Ranger’ movie,” says Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture. “ I’m 54 and Lone Ranger seems stodgy to me . I don’t know that we should draw too many conclusions from these particular failures.”

But what’s particularly damning is that the three straight busts over the past three weeks were all non-sequels, including attempts to start new franchises with “original” stories with “Lone Ranger” and “Pacific Rim.”

“What high profile failures do is chip away at the confidence of studios,” says Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for

“Every summer people decry the fact that there are too many sequels, when Hollywood tried to go the original route, it came back to bite them.”

Part of the problem is that its been a “traffic jam,” in Dergarabedian’s words, at the multiplex this summer. In May, “The Hangover Part III,” finished a distant second behind “Fast & Furious 6” — a box office battle between two movies that were chasing more or less the same demographic.

Had the R-rated comedy opened on a less crowded weekend, it likely would have enjoyed the same No. 1 bragging rights as the two previous installments in the franchise.

But during the 18-week summer season that kicked off with “Iron Man 3,” there weren’t any open slots. This Friday, Warner Brothers’ scarer “The Conjuring” is opening against Summit’s “Red 2” and Universal’s big budget “R.I.P.D.” — and a fourth major film, the animated feature “Turbo,” debuted two days earlier. There isn’t enough ticket money to go around and the $130 million “R.I.P.D.” looks to be dead on arrival, according to tracking data from

“It’s one thing to budget for a blockbuster, it’s another thing to market for it, and its another thing to actually bust the block,” says Thompson. “It’s not science, it’s showbiz.”

Hollywood studios, however, are not likely to panic just yet. Even though “The Lone Ranger” will end up costing Disney a projected $100 to $200 in losses, the studio is still basking in the glow of “The Avengers,” which earned $1.5 billion worldwide last year. “Iron Man 3,” which opened in May, has already added $1.2 billion in global box office to the studio coffers.

“From the first weekend in May through this past Sunday, the box office is at 12.95% ahead of last year.” says Dergarabedian. “That’s the irony in all this, emotionally it feels like this summer is a bust, but on paper its not bad at all.”

Audiences elected to stay away from ‘White House Down,’ starring Channing Tatum.


Audiences elected to stay away from ‘White House Down,’ starring Channing Tatum.

‘Pacific Rim’ debuted in third place last weekend with $37.2 million, hardly a monster hit.


‘Pacific Rim’ debuted in third place last weekend with $37.2 million, hardly a monster hit.

‘The Hangover Part III’ may have been a bigger hit if it hadn't opened up against ‘Fast & Furious 6’ on a crowded Memorial Day Weekend at the multiplex.


‘The Hangover Part III’ may have been a bigger hit if it hadn’t opened up against ‘Fast & Furious 6’ on a crowded Memorial Day Weekend at the multiplex.

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