Johnny Depp’s gamble on reviving “The Lone Ranger” as a blockbuster action spectacle appears to be going down in flames. The latest collaboration with Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski opened to a weak $9.6 million on Wednesday.
By comparison, the first “Pirates” film opened to $13.5 million. That was 10 years ago and before the franchise was officially an event.
“Ranger” looks even worse in comparison to the spectacular debut of animated sequel “Despicable Me 2,” which brought in $34.3 million — the third highest opening day ever for an animated film and easily exceeding the $30.5 million “Monsters University” opened with in June (even though “Despicable” opened on a Wednesday and “Monsters” opened on a Friday).
Meanwhile, comedian Kevin Hart’s latest concert movie “Let Me Explain” brought in $4.7 million on Wednesday. That’s nearly half as much as “Lone Ranger” despite only playing in 876 theaters compared to “Ranger’s” 3,904 and receiving very limited marketing.
“Despicable” and “Explain” both earned A grades from audiences polled by CinemaScore, while “Ranger” earned a so-so B+.
The July 4 holiday is traditionally soft for movie going but things should heat back up through the weekend, at which point “Lone Ranger” will be looking to regain ground if it hopes to recoup a budget estimated to be as high as $250 million.