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Lone Ganger

Does box office solely define a flop?

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text Geoff Toomey

Summer blockbuster pictures bring green-eyed studios to the silver screens every single year. 2013 so far has seen about half of the summer line up, as the August films begin tailoring themselves to their Oscar red carpet catalogue. For the most part we’ve come to expect a few summer similarities during the hottest times of the year: superheroes; sequels; tent-pole comedies; Disney, Depp, Verbinski and Westerns?

Deciding to join the mash-up culture, Disney makes their summer splash with their featured stars: director Gore Verbinski, leading man Johnny Depp and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Having matched the high caliber team before, Disney has seen it’s fair share of success, which began a decade ago with the first of their four pirate films, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Together the trio has mounted pirate ships four different summers making one of the most successful franchises in film history. In 2013 however, they decided to shed the sea for the sand. They revitalized an old radio, TV, and film classic called The Lone Ranger and mount a $225 million dollar western.

The film features a lone ranger outfitted, parentless youngster who comes across a totem-esq Johnny Depp, who provides the origin story -- which is helpful for the youngsters, who may not have been familiar with their parents, or most likely grandparents favorite ‘super hero’ growing up, while also adding supplementary comic relief.

Tonto (Depp) finds himself a yellow faced, Native American, leaving Armie Hammer to eventually don the Lone Ranger’s mask in search of justice. Riding Silver, his horse, the Lone Ranger and Tonto seek out their cannibalistic antagonist Butch Cavendish, played by William Fichtner. It’s easy to see the references to Westerns by director Verbinski, from John Ford all the way back to Buster Keaton.

The film follows a series of misfortunes for the unlikely duo during their two and a half hour feature, peaking to Hans Zimmer’s orchestral rendition and Lone Ranger Trademark, William Tell Overture. Overall the film showcases Verbinksi’s depth, Depp’s wit, and Hammer’s broadening skills in a bizarre and slightly over the top yet entertaining summer film. And it’s safe to say Depp, Hammer, and Verbinski create an epic in a genre not quite known to them. An epic that may later be referred to as a monster summer flop. Especially with the successful past the director/actor duo has seen.

But do films’ opening weekends tell the truth about a picture? An opening weekend doesn’t always mean a flop. But when you’re talking in terms of green, Disney may tell you otherwise. Sighting the tidal waves from The Lone Ranger’s high dive belly flop for Disney (again, think John Carter) it’s hard to tell what they’ll do next. filmOA end logo

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