'Lone Ranger' Failure Will Not Affect Disney's 'Branded Tentpole Strategy' Exec Says

| by Taylor Bell
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It is predicted that Disney’s “The Lone Ranger,” which failed to bring in big numbers during its five-day opening, will cost the studio as much as $190 million.

“It’s disappointing,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive VP of theatrical exhibition sales and distribution. “The frustrating thing for us is that it felt like the ingredients were there.”

Disney relied heavily on its successful recipe used with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise by combining “the most successful producer in history [Jerry Bruckheimer]; an award-winning, commercially successful director [Gore Verbinski]; and the biggest movie star in the world [Johnny Depp],” according to Hollis. So what went wrong?

 “The heritage and legacy of the ‘Lone Ranger’ story didn’t connect as well with the younger audience,” Hollis said. “It wasn’t something that was known, and it didn’t draw their interest as much as we’d hoped.” Entertainment Weekly reports 68 percent of the film’s opening weekend audience was over the age of 25 with 25 percent being over 50.

Despite the huge financial failure of “The Lone Ranger,” Disney will continue its strategy of releasing only a few high-profile spectacles each year, reports Entertainment Weekly.

“This branded tentpole strategy of ours, it’s 100 percent what we’re looking to do and what we want to be,” Hollis said. “Between Disney and Marvel and Pixar and Lucasfilm and our relationship with DreamWorks live-action, we will have branded tentpoles that come out over the course of the calendar.”

Luckily for Disney, the studio is such a big company that a failure like “The Lone Ranger” will not bring it tumbling down, and therefore, it can afford to take such high risks with its films.

 “[Taking big risks like ‘The Lone Ranger’] sets the bar higher because we have bigger ambitions,” Hollis said. “It makes openings like this that much more disappointing, but we believe in this branded tentpole strategy.”

Source: Entertainment Weekly