Monday, July 8, 2013

The Lone(ly) Ranger or Don't serve your "bread and butter" as the second course.

Here are the numbers people like Robert Iger (Disney's CEO), Jerry Bruckheimer (The Lone Ranger's Producer) and Gore Verbinski (The Lone Ranger's Director) are trying to wrap their heads around today (all in millions):


In order, that's about the size of The Lone Ranger's production budget followed by about the size of The Lone Ranger's marketing budget followed by about what The Lone Ranger pulled in at the box-office in the last five days. All followed by the chances of ever seeing Johnny Depp wearing crow's feathers in a movie wig again.

And here's today's safest bet in Hollywood - Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer will not be making a reboot of Disney's John Carter of Mars.

Here's a quick quiz to see if you have the makings of a bigtime movie producer:

Q. Who is the movie star in the following list:
a. Johnny Depp
b. Armie Hammer
c. the horse

Disney execs, still waiting for The Lone Ranger money train.
If you chose a. Johnny Depp, you would be right. And therefore likely to cast your movie star in a role that would let audiences know that your movie star is indeed the star of your movie.

If you picked either b or c, you would therefore have bet a 1/4 million dollar budget on the hopes that your audiences would accept that your star is starring in a "buddy" style movie, sharing his role with a second star equal to his or her own stature, leveraging a rare screen opportunity to see two of your favorite stars together in an onscreen blockbuster.

In this case however, the second star's name would not be as obscure as Armie Hammer, nor have four legs and a tail.

There is some good news. If you picked b or c, you still likely qualify for a gig with Disney Studios. At least until the news breaks on just how much of a stock write-down is looming before the end of the fiscal year.

How about this as a title: "Tonto and the Lone Ranger"? Just maybe things would have been clearer? As in, yeah, it's a Johnny Depp movie. But then again, there wasn't likely much to mistake last year's Dark Shadows (Warner Bros) as anything but a Johnny Depp movie. Anyone up for investing in any nostalgic television big screen remakes right about now?

And so, while Disney's summer train of movie hits spirals catastrophically off the tracks and into the ravine of modern movie westerns, here's another bet you can make bank on...

I'll call it the second safest bet in Hollywood today - Pirates of the Carribean 5 is no longer a guarantee.

Mr. Depp, time to rediscover your dramatic roots and fire a few of the make-up staff. Dreadlocks and feathers seem to have fallen desperately out of fashion.

Movie stills courtesy of Disney Studios. I figured most of you haven't ever seen them before.

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