Lone Ranger fails to spur profits for Disney

The entertainment giant expects huge losses on its $190m summer 'blockbuster'.

by Gabriella Griffith
Last Updated: 07 Aug 2013
Disney has admitted that its latest blockbuster was a box office flop, losing an estimated $190m (£124m) for the company. The wild west action film, which stars Johnny Depp, cost nearly $250m to make and has so far failed to attract crowds, pulling in less than $90m in the US to date.

Despite the burden heaped onto the company by the latest flop, revenues rose for the three months to 29 June, as analysts had forecast, from $11.1bn to $11.5bn. Disney’s earnings hit $1.85bn in the same quarter, up from $1.83bn the year before.

Disney will no doubt be bracing itself for the next quarterly results, though, when the losses from Lone Ranger will whip in and take their toll. As well as production costs, marketing costs for the film were astronomical, as the teams put all their efforts into pushing the flick.

Disney chairman and chief executive Bob Iger remained unfazed by the performance of the latest release: ‘We are confident that our strategy of creating high-quality branded content positions us well for the future.’

‘One way to rise above the din and the competition is with a big film, not just big budget, but big story, big cast, big marketing behind it,’ he said in defence of the flop.

The disastrous takings of the Lone Ranger are a marked difference from Johnny Depp’s previous box offices smashes. He’s usually something of a cash cow for the entertainment company: his performance in the four Pirates of the Caribbean movies raked in just under $4bn worldwide.

During the filming of the Lone Ranger, Depp was involved in a life threatening accident, when he was trampled by his horse. The story made headlines all over the world, fans terrified about any damage to the heartthrob. But as it transpires, even his near-death experience couldn’t save the film from dying on its feet. No doubt the embarrassment of failing to draw in audiences for this latest flick will push Depp even further along the Hollywood gang plank - the performer hinted at giving up acting back in June. ‘High-Yo Silver away’.

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