The producer “will probably end up making more films for us” including a fifth Pirates Of The Caribbean, the Disney CEO told CNBC’s Jim Cramer today. And last week’s decision to let their first-look deal expire next year was not tied to the fact that Disney might write down as much as $190M from losses tied to The Lone Ranger, which Jerry Bruckheimer produced. “We both have changed over the years,” Bob Iger says. “Jerry decided to spread his wings. … Our needs have changed a bit in terms of our live-action movie business.” In the end, “Jerry provided great value for us.” Iger hit more familiar themes in the interview including his optimism for ESPN and Disney theme parks and the “unlikely” possibility that he’ll make another deal as big as the ones for Marvel and Lucasfilm.
Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer Blast Critics Over ‘Lone Ranger’ Bomb: They “Slit The Jugular” Of Our Film
Lone Ranger stars Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer waited until they hit the UK press circuit to explain why the expensive Disney tent pole flopped big time at the summer box office. “This is the deal with American critics,” said Armie Hammer speaking to Yahoo UK/Ireland. “They’ve been gunning for our movie since it was shut down the first time. I think that’s probably when most of the critics wrote their initial reviews.” Hammer minced the fewest words of all the Lone Ranger gang throwing jabs at film critics he said “[jumped] on the bandwagon” and “[tried] to slit the jugular of our film.”
Depp toed the same company line, blaming an imaginary American film critics vendetta for why the Gore Verbinski-directed, Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Western reimagining failed over the 4th of July weekend and cost Disney an estimated $190M loss just a year after its $200M John Carter write-down. “I think the reviews were written when they heard Gore [Verbinski] and Jerry [Bruckheimer] and I were going to do The Lone Ranger,” said Depp. “To round it out as a big group, the American press, the journalists or whatever – yeah, I think the reviews were written 7, 8 months probably before we ever released the film.”
July 4th Global Weekend: ‘Despicable Me 2′ Giant $293.2M and #1, ‘Lone Ranger’ Dismal $73.2M For Depp, ‘Let Me Explain’ $17.3M
SUNDAY NOON, 13TH UPDATE: As predicted fireworks blazed at the Fourth Of July box office which headed to $229M domestic through Sunday (+16% from last year) and a new 3-day weekend record for the holiday. But there was only bad news for Disney’s #2 too-expensive The Lone Ranger (3,904 theaters) which opened disastrously Wednesday, remained weak on Thursday, did only $10.6M Friday, and flatlined for $10.7M Saturday. That’s a very disappointing 5-day holiday of $48.9M max. The two-quadrant Western won’t cover its high $215M-$250M cost despite this holiday’s 4x multiple. The Johnny Depp-Armie Hammer starrer’s domestic cume is way below Disney’s initial lowball projection of $65M and the 3rd big-budget bomb of Summer 2013. (Two Sony pics – White House Down and After Earth- also were expensive bombs.) As Deadline was first to report, the studio in August 2011 shut down Lone Ranger for six months after the budget ballooned out of control. Too bad Disney didn’t just scrap the pic altogether. Depp’s worldwide popularity may, repeat may, help overseas where oaters usually don’t excel.Lone Ranger opened day and date in 30% of the foreign landscape but only 4 big markets: Italy and Russia (released July 2) and Australia and Korea (July 4). It made $24.3M internationally for a global cume of $73.2M through Sunday. Ouch!
Far different result for the #1 movie, Illumination Entertainment’s and Universal’s Despicable Me 2 (3,957 theaters) which only cost a very reasonable $76M. It is the #1 film in the world this weekend, opening atop the U.S. and Canadian box office with a record-breaking estimated gross of $142.1M. The 3D toon posted the biggest 5-day opening for an animated film and the top 3-day animated opening in July (earning $82.5M). Internationally, its gross widened to 6,849 dates in 45 territories to total $151.1M. The combined global cume is $293.2M. This marks Universal’s second biggest international opening weekend ever behind Fast & Furious 6 ($161M). Day after day pic kept overperforming in North America for the 5-day holiday. (“We stood here watching Rentrak and wondering, ‘Could it be?’” a Uni exec tells me.) The new worldwide cumulative easily passed $200M Saturday on its way to $300M through Sunday. Not only is DM2 performing well ahead of the original film globally but also on par with such toon franchise megahits as Toy Story 3, Ice Age 4, Madagascar 3 and Shrek 4. And the sequel’s opening is among the top animated openings of all time in every market. Pic has 18 more territories to open over the next few months.
Kevin Hart’s concert pic Let Me Explain (876 theaters) from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment made $3.7M Friday and the studio projects $17.4M for the 5-day holiday. It’s yet another surprisingly strong debut from the standup comedian’s rabid and rapidly growing fanbase in the cheapest film and smallest theater count of the Fourth Of July field from major studios. Studio harnessed Hart’s social media network to plug the pic.
More analysis below. Here’s the Top Ten estimates:
1. Despicable Me 2 (Universal) NEW [Runs 3,957]
Wednesday $35.0M, Thursday $24.5M, Friday $30.5M, Saturday $29.6M
3-Day Weekend $82.5M, Domestic Cume $142.1M
International Cume $151.1M, Worldwide Total $293.1M
2. The Lone Ranger (Disney) NEW [Runs 3,904]
Wednesday $9.6M, Thursday $9.8M, Friday $10.6M, Saturday $10.7M
3-Day Weekend $29.4M, Domestic Cume $48.9M
International Cume $24.3M, Worldwide Total $73.2M
Listen to (and share) episode 33 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about whether one of Hawk Koch’s last initiatives, making the Motion Picture Academy membership more diverse, may have the most long-term impact; weekend events honoring bygone stars Dolores Hart and Annette Funicello; and the big movie debuts for the long holiday weekend, including The Lone Ranger, Despicable Me 2 and The Way, Way Back.
Produced By Conference: Jerry Bruckheimer Says ‘Top Gun’ Sequel Still In Play, ‘Lone Ranger’ Sequel Not Set Yet
Top Gun 2 is still aiming for lift off, said Jerry Bruckheimer today. “For 30 years we’ve been trying to make a sequel and we’re not going to stop. We still want to do it with Tom [Cruise] and Paramount are still interested in making it,” the producer said Sunday at the Produced By conference. “What Tom tells me is that no matter where he goes in the world, people refer to him as Maverick,” added Bruckheimer of Tom Cruise who starred as the rebel fighter jet pilot in the original 1986 movie. “It’s something he is excited about so as long as he keeps his enthusiasm hopefully we’ll get it made,” Bruckheimer said about the sequel and its star. Bruckheimer noted that the death of original Top Gun director Tony Scott last August did put a pause on the project.
In a wide-ranging discussion with Deadline’s Pete Hammond at the PGA event, the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise and this summer’s Lone Ranger producer also revealed that star Johnny Depp often travels with his Captain Jack Sparrow costume and visits children’s hospitals unannounced. “He knows he is a very fortunate person and he wants to give back,” Bruckheimer said. Praising the actor and others, Bruckheimer said the success of his films over the decades, both with partner Don Simpson and on his own, is “always about the talent… our company worships talent.”
Looks like Disney wasn’t quite done dropping trailers for the Disney tentpole starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer. The Lone Ranger bows July 3.
It’s clear even from this Japanese-subtitled, English-language version that producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski have endeavored to deliver a rousing popcorn movie with Armie Hammer as the title character and Johnny Depp as his spirit warrior partner Tonto. Whether they succeeded or not, we’ll find out …