It's official: 'The Lone Ranger' was a flop

The movie may end up costing Disney up to $190 million

By Benzinga Aug 7, 2013 4:59PM

Disney (DIS) was trading lower at the beginning of Wednesday -- after investors showed mild disappointment in its earnings release. But looking at it as a whole, it looks pretty good until you make your way to the studio section.

Studio revenue was down but more important, "The Lone Ranger" is now officially a flop, and Disney will pay for it next quarter.

According to the release
, The company reported second quarter EPS of $1.03 versus the estimated $1.01, beating by $0.02 for a two percent increase year over year. Revenue was light at $11.58 billion versus consensus of $11.64 billion but sales were up 4% year over year.

Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger (© Moviestore/Rex Features)Free cash flow was up 27%, cash provided by operations up 18%  and net income grew by one percent -- all good metrics until you take a look at the studio line. Revenue decreased two percent year over year and operating income fell 36%.

The reason? The performance of Marvel’s "Iron Man 3" and "Monsters University" this quarter, versus Marvel’s "The Avengers" and "Brave" in the same quarter last year. In other words, "people liked our movies better last year." The company also mentioned marketing costs for "The Lone Ranger" that were charged this quarter.

But later, during the conference call Jay Rasulo, Disney's senior executive vice President and chief financial officer, said,

"Needless to say we’re disappointed with the performance of 'The Lone Ranger' and in light of the film’s box office results we expect to incur loss on the film in Q4 of between $160 million and $190 million."

The film cost $250 million to make but has grossed only $177 million worldwide, according to the Los Angeles Times. It has only opened in 40% of international markets bringing in a disappointing $86.9 million internationally.

Why did the film fail? If you ask Johnny Depp, it’s the critics’ fault.

Depp said, "I think the reviews were written 7-8 months before we released the film."

Co-star Armie Hammer, in the same interview, said, "[Critics] jumped on the bandwagon to try and bash it."

More from Benzinga
Aug 7, 2013 10:11PM
That movie was mess even in the trailers, it was so over the top that it was doomed to flop. 
Aug 7, 2013 11:38PM
They took an icon like the Long Ranger and desecrated it - Disney thinks anything they do will be met with acceptance.  This was awful. 
Aug 7, 2013 6:06PM
Tonto was not a wack-job and the Lone Ranger was not a wimp.
Aug 8, 2013 9:00AM
I grew up with the Lone Ranger and Tonto...and I'm not offended even a little by this witty, irreverent, tongue-in-cheek redux. Enjoyed every minute of the two-plus hours, and Johnny Depp is my favorite lib. If you listened to the critics, you missed a good one here!!
Aug 8, 2013 9:24AM
The critics are a bunch of high-brows, the definition of a high-brow -- a person who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of The Lone Ranger.
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