Disney's Lone Ranger producer Jerry Bruckheimer and stars Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp spoke out in an interview today, blaming the entertainment press for killing the film with bad reviews and stories about low expectations.
“I think the reviews were written seven to eight months before we released the film,” Depp told Variety. “I think the reviews were written when they heard Gore [Verbinski] and Jerry [Bruckheimer] and me were going to do The Lone Ranger. They had expectations that it must be a blockbuster. I didn’t have any expectations of that. I never do.”
[Note: Our review of the film, which was not kind, was written the night before. We promise.]
“This is the deal with American critics: they’ve been gunning for our movie since it was shut down the first time,” Hammer said. “That’s when most of the critics wrote their initial reviews. They tried to do the same thing with to World War Z, it didn’t work, the movie was successful. Instead they decided to slit the jugular of our movie.”
World War Z, in spite of a mountain of negative press and a number of production delays, received largely positive reviews from both critics and audiences when it came to theaters. The film currently has a 67% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although it was closer to 75% or 80% the week of the film's release. Its audience score is right in line with the critics' original assessment at 75%. Lone Ranger scored just 28% with critics, while 61% of audiences liked it. For context, the notoriously-panned Green Lantern film scored 26% from critics and 45% from audiences. A number of other films have come out this year with poorer-than-expected critical reception and gone on to be big hits commercially, including Identity Thief and Man of Steel.
Lone Ranger, which cost nearly $250 million to make, has grossed less than $100 million theatrically in the U.S. and is opening in the U.K. this weekend.