Way back in 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl wasn't expected to be a success. Back then, as Chris Nashawaty told it in Entertainment Weekly, Johnny Depp couldn't lure moviegoers and $135 million seemed like too much money to spend on a movie based on a theme park ride. But, of course, the film proved everyone wrong, becoming a massive success and spawning three sequels, a franchise that has grossed over $3 billion worldwide.
This July 4th weekend, Disney is hoping to recreate that success with The Lone Ranger, also directed by Gore Verbinski and also featuring a heavily made-up Johnny Depp. But will it work? Or has the novelty worn off?
Early trade reviews have not been kind. Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter writes: "Floated conceptually and commercially by another eccentric comic characterization by Johnny Depp, this attempt by Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer to plant the flag for another Pirates of the Caribbean-scaled series tries to have it too many ways tonally, resulting in a work that wobbles and thrashes all over the place as it attempts to find the right groove." Alonso Duralde at The Wrap calls the film "joyless" and "seemingly endless."