By now we all know that The Lone Ranger flopped, big time. While it once would have sounded insane to say that a movie that made $50 million in its opening weekend (albeit a long holiday one) is a bomb, when you're spending upwards of $225 million on a movie, as Disney did with The Lone Ranger, a $50 million holiday weekend haul is indeed an epic disaster. With a write-down that could reach $190 million, Disney has some thinking to do about what went wrong. Where do they go from here? Well, as Dawn C. Chmielewski and Steven Zeitchik lay out in an interesting Los Angeles Times article, a few things might be changing around the studio. Some things for the better, some for the worse.
In the article, a entertainment industry analyst is quoted as saying, "They will think not twice, but maybe five times, before they do another $225 million picture." That has to be a good thing, right? Recently, intended blockbusters have become bloated affairs, overly cluttered with set pieces meant to up the ante to appeal to increasingly jaded moviegoers. When a movie like The Avengers makes a billion dollars, the temptation, and we have to assume the pressure, to recreate that kind of sensation again and again is likely great. Thus we have the studios throwing ungodly sums of money at these movies, which have to rely on as much senseless spectacle as possible to reel people in with eye-popping trailers. Sometimes that formula works despite itself, provided the right creative team is behind it. Joss Whedon's Avengers deftly married scale with, if not substance, certainly style, creating a big movie that never felt lumbering. It was even intimate in parts, despite its orgy of superheros and the epic destruction of Manhattan. (Poor, poor Manhattan.) But too often these movies are ceaseless and unfocused bores, all crash and rumble and little else. They may do well at the box office, but that doesn't make them good.