'The Lone Ranger' Is Lining Up To Be Disney's Next 'John Carter' Bust

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Good thing Disney started the summer with mega-hit "Iron Man 3."

It's latest film, the Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer Western "The Lone Ranger" looks like its going to bomb over the weekend.

The first reviews for the movie didn't come out until two days before the films release — never a good sign for a potentially good blockbuster — and when they did, they shredded Disney's latest.

The film is currently hovering at 24% on film review site Rotten Tomatoes.

This morning, the film was making up 12% of ticket sales on Fandango.

Instead, we're told sales are gravitating toward Steve Carell's "Despicable Me 2." 71% of this morning's ticket sales were to see the little yellow minions back on the big screen.

After a big $4.7 million opening night, the film may surpass the $82 million debut of "Monsters University."  As of yesterday, "Despicable Me 2" was outpacing "MU" in advance ticket sales.

"The Lone Ranger" has taken in $2 million at the box office after Tuesday night sales. Deadline reports the film has now earned $15 million today — far below the $35 million of "Despicable Me 2." 

Overall, analysts seem rather mixed on the long shot of the Western.  

Managing director of Janney Montgomery Scott, Tony Wible predicts the Mouse House will see $180 million in domestic earnings for the film and go on to see another $370 million from foreign box office, video game, and other sales. That would be enough for Disney to turn a profit.  

Meanwhile, another analyst with Cowen & Co. predicts Disney could lose $100 million on the film if weekend sales are weak and the film isn't good.   

When the entire holiday weekend is through analysts expect Disney's "Ranger" to bring in  $60 - $70  million. 

Some of those analyst predictions may be a bit too high. 

As we've said, the critics haven't been nice.

Currently, "The Lone Ranger" has dropped from a predicted $35 million 3-day opening weekend to $29 million, according to BoxOffice.com. Anything less than a $70 million number would be disasterous for the film estimated to have a budget ranging from $225-$250 million after numerous production delays. 

Other than poor reviews and opening against family-friendly film "Despicable Me 2," Vice President and Chief Analyst of BoxOffice.com Phil  Contrino says  the film is suffering from a campaign that never took off with fans.  

"The marketing campaign hasn't connected in a significant way," Contrino tells Business Insider. "It's not something that people are really that excited about compared to how 'Despicable Me 2' is doing on Facebook and Twitter. People are talking about that like crazy."

Contrino adds the social buzz is no where near that of other big summer blockbusters like "Man of Steel" or even "Star Trek Into Darkness" which earned $116 million and $70.2 million respectively opening weekend.  

"It's not even in the same league," Contrino tells us.   

The one film Contrino did say it wasn't pacing far behind was Brad Pitt's "World War Z" which he says was pretty strong on Twitter the week before its June 19 release in theaters. "WWZ" debuted to $66 million.

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Variety points out in its latest issue that lead actor Armie Hammer's lack of social media presence could be hurting "The Lone Ranger."

"So far, Armie Hammer has followed a conventional media strategy that some marketing experts would argue ignores the current zeitgeist. ... In today's overexposed media landscape, where celebs are under the constant eye of cellphone cameras, bloggers and the TMZs of the world, Hammer has managed to keep his personal life below the radar. If anything, that has made him appear somewhat mysterious and elusive."

Variety reported findings from metric site Fizziology that say Johnny Depp has been driving most of the positive online feedback for the film.

Something else Contrino says won't help the Mouse House is t he amount of violence in the film. Reviews noted a few gun scenes and one particularly uncharacteristically vile scene where a villain consumes a heart.

"It hurts that word is getting out pretty quickly that it's actually pretty violent for a Disney movie," says Contrino. "The idea that a Disney movie might not be kid friendly is going to hurt it the most at this point along with the fact it's opening against 'Despicable Me 2.'"  

Historically, film adaptations of "The Lone Ranger" have never done well at theaters.  

Jack Wrather cancelled the popular TV series in hopes it could become a successful film franchise.  

The result was 1956's "Lone Ranger" and its followup in 1958 "The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold." There's no data on how either of these films performed at theaters.  

Universal's 1981 "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" brought in $12.6 million. Today, that would equate to $36 million.

What may be Disney's saving grace is Johnny Depp's foreign star power.

"Depp is huge overseas, so it could be one of those cases where it's a disappointment in North America, but then they make up for it at the foreign box office," says Contrino.



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