“Lone Ranger” is third epic bomb of the summer, what will be the fourth?

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June, for those keeping score at home, wasn’t the best month for movies. Or movie studios.
“The Purge” over-achieved, “The Heat” is a hit.

But “After Earth” was a sign of the end for Will Smith. “White House Down” was an epic setback for Channing Tatum.

And “The Lone Ranger,” from the producer of “Prince of Persia,” is shaping as the first flop of July, the third big bust of the summer. It’s a “John Carter” sized failure — a movie that made a boatload of cash, but cost so much more than that, and faced such weak reviews that “failure” is written all over it. THR speculates that the loss Disney faces over this could be up to $150 million.

And it’s not like that comes as a surprise to most. Whatever Hollywood hopes to get out of a brand name title — even ones as obscure as “Prince of Persia” or as dated as “John Carter” or “The Lone Ranger” or (the upcoming) “Man from U.N.C.L.E” — spending this sort of money on these films is insane. $250 million for this? After Disney gave Bruckheimer all that cash for “Persia”? Fool you twice, shame on you.

Peter Bart at Variety says that this mania for brand names — sequels and remakes — is driven by fear, and self-perpetuating. The more Disney wastes on “Lone Ranger” or Warners on assorted comic book films (“Justice League,” another “Green Lantern”? Really?), the less they want to spend developing original ideas pitched to them by screenwriters.

Which among the summer’s remaining pictures looks like a failure of this scope? “R.I.P.D.”, the crime fighters in the afterlife action comedy with Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, looks, well, iffy. Universal removed all doubt about it when they decreed that they wouldn’t preview it for critics until the night before opening.

I’d like to think “Grown Ups 2” will tank, but I doubt it. Sandler’s in decline, but this sort of comedy — loud, crude, crass — never goes out of style.

“Wolverine” has an element of risk about it.

“Elysium” seems “can’t miss” but “Percy Jackson 2” and “Mortal Instruments,” shoved into August release dates, have the whiff of not-quite-there about them.

And Disney’s “Planes” seems half-hearted, at best, an exclamation point on a summer that their big cartoons did not own. Not by a long shot.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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4 Responses to “Lone Ranger” is third epic bomb of the summer, what will be the fourth?

  1. “Grown Ups 2” will do just fine, as I think will “Wolverine.” “R.I.P.D.” seems DOA. And what about “Pacific Rim”? It looks like “Godzilla.”

  2. keith7198 says:

    Sadly Grown Ups 2 will push or exceed $100 million. It baffles me but it’ll happen.

    I still don’t think The Lone Ranger is as obscure as Prince of Persia or John Carter. I think it’s loaded with potential. Unfortunately it’s a considerably worse film than either of the two. I really, really struggled through it.

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