It is a mystery to me why The Lone Ranger flopped in America. It had everything a summer movie can ask for: drama, comedy, action, adventure, great performances, stunning scenery, and two classic American characters.
It was even produced and directed by the team that brought us the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. And it has Johnny Depp!
The Lone Ranger cost Disney $375 million to produce and market. It has so far grossed a paltry $86 million in the U.S. and another $88 million in other countries. It is said that The Lone Ranger would need to gross $800 million worldwide to break even, accounting for revenue splits with theater owners, and it is expected that it will lose $150 million for Disney. The Lone Ranger, no doubt, needs to open big – not just in the U.K., but in other countries – to help Disney recoup the cost of this film.
No matter how much money it is going to lose, The Lone Ranger is a great film and a unique retelling of the fictional story between two great American classic characters, The Lone Ranger and Tonto.
In this film, a boy at a circus show encounters Tonto (Depp as the Native American warrior, and part of an exhibition in the circus) who tells the boy the tale of John Reid (Armie Hammer), who goes from being a man of the law to a crime-fighting hero. He explains to the boy in great detail how he and The Lone Ranger learned to work together to fight the bad guys. What is unique about this version is that it is told from Tonto's point of view. And this film tells the story of how John Reid becomes the Lone Ranger.
This idea for The Lone Ranger was all Depp's. He asked a makeup artist and photographer friends of his to create a look for Tonto in the hopes that producer Jerry Bruckheimer (and Disney) would greenlight the film. It worked, and filming began in the American Southwest until the end of September 2012.
No one else could have played Tonto to perfection except for Depp. With his facial expressions, white face, and rigid posture, he is funny when needed but viscious when called for. Depp is also an Executive Producer on this film, showing how much faith he had in this production and getting it made. Hammer, as The Lone Ranger, continues to prove that he can act in any type of film. He played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, J. Edgar Hoover's companion in J. Edgar, and a Prince in Mirror, Mirror. He is one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood today. Rounding out the cast is Tom Wilkinson as corrupt railroad tycoon Latham Cole; the always reliable Helena Bonham Carter as madam Red Harrington, who has more than one trick up her dress; American television and film actor William Fitchner as The Lone Ranger's archenemy Butch Cavendish; and English actress Ruth Wilson as John Reid's sister-in-law and later love interest.
All performances in The Lone Ranger are excellent, the production values second to none, and there is not one boring minute. At a running time of 149 minutes, though not short, the film goes by very fast as each scene holds your attention, from the fight scenes to the desert scenes, and especially the amazing runaway train scene. I cannot recommend this film enough. You will thoroughly enjoy it. It will only cost you £11 or so, while it cost Disney lots and lots of money to make it, so it is a bargain for the filmgoer anyway you look at it.
The Lone Ranger is now out in UK cinemas, and The Lone Ranger album, Wanted, is now available to download from iTunes (with Disney donating some of the album profits to the Global Fund to fight AIDS).