July 5 "The Lone Ranger," Walt Disney Co's
big-budget Western starring Johnny Depp, wrangled just
$19.5 million in ticket sales in its first two full days at U.S.
and Canadian movie theaters, trailing far behind the $59.5
million racked up by animated sequel "Despicable Me 2."
The tally for "Lone Ranger," which included receipts
starting on Tuesday night through Thursday's U.S. Independence
Day holiday, put the film on pace to miss, by a long haul,
industry forecasts for the holiday period.
The film about the masked man who fights injustice was
likely to finish with about $45 million at domestic theaters
through Sunday, Disney said. That was far below the $60 million
to $70 million predicted ahead of the film's opening.
"If it does end up grossing less than $50 million" by
Sunday, "it will most certainly go down as a misfire," said Jeff
Bock, a senior analyst for Exhibitor Relations, which tracks
movie box office prospects.
Disney spent an estimated $225 million to make "Lone Ranger"
and more than $100 million to market the film, an action remake
of a 1930s radio show and a 1950s TV series. Armie Hammer plays
the masked man who fights injustice with help from Tonto, his
Native American companion played by Depp.
The film's poor opening is a black eye for producer Jerry
Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and Depp, the trio behind
Disney's ultra-successful "Pirates of the Caribbean" series.
"Despicable Me 2," produced for $76 million, pulled in
family audiences to dominate ticket sales over one of the year's
biggest movie-going periods, the days around the July Fourth
holiday. The film also started screening on Tuesday night, with
Wednesday its first full day in theaters.
The film from Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures
features the voice of Steve Carell, reprising his role as Gru
from the 2010 blockbuster "Despicable Me." The sequel gave
Universal its biggest Wednesday opening ever and was the
third-highest opening day for any animated film.