Like a lot of people, I didn't see The Lone Ranger, and I do mean a LOT. And Disney is obviously not happy about that. After surviving development hell and a constantly changing roster of talent willing to make the film, the $215m monstrosity is by all accounts an abysmal failure having earned just shy of $60m as of this writing. This was the film that Disney was counting on to be the sure thing for the year. Instead it's become that other sure thing they banked on -- John Carter.
In wake of this disaster and the fore-mentioned John Carter, Disney has essentially announced that they will no longer be making "original" content. They will concentrate only on sequels and franchise films, having determined the originality of the Lone Ranger to be the reason no one went to see it. I'll wait for you to stop laughing at the fact that Disney considers the Lone Ranger to be an "original" film.
Sure Lone Ranger got trounced by Despicable Me 2, a sequel itself, and their own Monsters University, a prequel, but there's another film that kicked it's ass. A little girl comedy called The Heat from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig. That's right, this $43m film is going to break $100m by the end of the weekend. You could make 5 movies like The Heat for what the Lone Ranger cost. Original content. But you could make the argument that The Heat is counter-programming, and that's why it's doing so well.
Another little movie opened this weekend. A small, intimate story about giant robots fighting giant monsters called Pacific Rim. It's estimated to earn over $50m before the weekend is through. Within a week, it will have outgrossed The Lone Ranger. Pacific Rim is an original screenplay not based on anything other than pop culture influences. To make things even more skewed against it, it really has no stars to speak of. The biggest names on the bill are Idris Elba and Charlie Day. Don't get me wrong, I think Idris is absolutely badass, but no one would ever mistake him to have the same potential box office draw as Johnny Depp.
Still Disney says they're giving up on "original" content. Perhaps they should just concentrate on making better movies than always trying to launch or sustain a franchise. People want original stories, and they will show up for them when they look promising. But most people I know who went out to Pirates of the Caribbean 4 or Hangover 2 felt duped and betrayed -- suckered into giving up money for a shitty movie on the promise that they could get that lovin' feeling back.
Ultimately it comes back to the old adage of Hollywood that everyone knows and no one follows -- anybody who knows what will succeed and what will fail is lying, so just make the best movie you can instead of trying to please everyone.