Disney’s The Lone Ranger had a horrible holiday box office managing to lasso only a paltry $49 million over the five days. Even when you add in the international box office of $23 million, it doesn’t match the $82 million made by Despicable Me 2 at the domestic theaters. So where did Disney go wrong with this film?
Let’s look at the growing list of complaints:
- First of all the film was too violent and word got out that you should not bring your young’ens. This made the choice of which movie over the holiday to see very easy for families. I really have to question the creative choice to make such a violent film. Keeping the blood to a minimum doesn’t count when you’re cutting out the heart of a character just off screen, shooting down a whole tribe of Native Americans, killing a bunch of soldiers, and shooting up a town. Disney Studio executives would do well to remember that the Disney name used to stand for something at the box office – quality family entertainment. Be definition you can’t provide that when the rating is PG-13 for violence.
Disney’s The Lone Ranger rides into cinemas everywhere this weekend bringing a updated take on the classic TV show masked avenger to modern audiences. The film is a success and a failure to varying degrees. How much you feel of one or the other probably depends on your ability to just let go and have a good time. Although dark at times, the film isn’t meant to be taken too seriously and certainly pokes fun at some of the conventions we expect in a Lone Ranger story. Once you figure out who the villain is, and he reveals himself fairly early on, the pieces fall into place and the rest of the film is a can be enjoyed for what it is – well produced Hollywood fun.
Like Johnny Depp, I grew up watching reruns of the classic TV show edition of The Lone Ranger. The villains were inevitably corrupt businessmen and politicians or the standard mustache twirling dreamer up of evil plots. Tonto did his best to keep the outlaw lawman John Reid out of trouble and often swooped in for a well timed attack to save the masked avenger’s life. It was inspiring stuff to an 8 year old.
Sadly, I can’t recommend today’s 8-year olds watch this new edition of The Lone Ranger. The PG-13 rating is to be taken seriously for both violent scenes and fairly heavy subject matter.
Frankly, I don’t get why Disney is marketing The Lone Ranger to young kids with Halloween costumes, action figures, and the like. Was the part about cutting out and eating the still beating heart of one of the heroes not in the script when merchandise got their hands on it?
On the other hand, I recent sat through World War Z, a fairly graphic and bloody zombie attack movie, with a young kid right in front of me. He suffered no ill effect and was even suggesting dinner options on the way out of the theater (he must have had an iron stomach to go with his tolerance for horror and gore). But I digress.
Ostensibly about the journey John Reid takes to become The Lone Ranger, the movie actually dedicates more pages of the script to Tonto’s backstory. It makes sense since a large portion of the plot is driven by elements in Tonto’s life. The two start off as adversaries, but by the end of the film are ready to work together as a team to right the wrongs and bring the bad guys to justice.