Summer 2013 has already seen its fair share of blockbuster hits, including Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel and Iron Man 3, but the heavily subscribed release schedule has left a few casualties in its wake. Jack the Giant Slayer was this year's major box office bomb until recently, with estimated losses of around $125-$140 million for Legendary Pictures, but entertainment powerhouse Disney has just outdone this year's record with their big-budget reboot of The Lone Ranger.
Between production and marketing costs, The Lone Ranger is estimated to have cost as much as $375 million, and its failure at the box office will likely cost the company around $190 million, making it this year's equivalent of John Carter. As a result, Disney is taking a closer look at some of the other major projects on the slate, in particular one that is associated with The Lone Ranger producer Jerry Bruckheimer and its star Johnny Depp.
The Wrap reports that Disney is currently negotiating with Bruckheimer to restructure his deal for Pirates of the Caribbean 5, the forthcoming sequel in the movie franchise that made pirates cool again, and sources close to the project say that Bruckheimer is likely to lose final cut privileges and a portion of his expected budget for the movie.
There seems little doubt that this is directly related to the recent numbers from The Lone Ranger, since the Pirates movies so far have been consistently profitable. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides made over $1 billion at the box office alone, making it second only to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest in terms of its financial success.
The reasons behind The Lone Ranger's drastic under-performance are difficult to pin down. The cast and crew recently argued that critics were biased against the movie from the start and that the poor reviews dissuaded audiences from going to see it. While the critical reception may have been a contributing factor, it's worth noting that the average moviegoer probably doesn't have much nostalgia for a show that originally aired in the 1950s, and that co-lead Armie Hammer isn't yet a big enough name to be an instant draw.
Whatever the reason for The Lone Ranger's poor performance, a renegotiated deal with Bruckheimer won't necessarily spell disaster for Pirates of the Caribbean 5. The movie that kicked off the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, was also the cheapest with its $140 million budget (others in the series ranged from $225-300 million) and is still considered by many to be the best Pirates movie. More important than having lots of cash to play with is the quality of screenwriter Jeff Nathanson's script and the delivery by Kon-Tiki directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg.
Do you think that Disney is right to be worried about the fate of Pirates of the Caribbean 5, or was The Lone Ranger's failure out of Bruckheimer's hands?
Pirates of the Caribbean 5 will sail into theaters on July 10, 2015.
Source: The Wrap