"The Lone Ranger" actor Johnny Depp, who stars in one of the summer's biggest bombs, thinks critics are partly to blame for the film's failure. "2 Guns" actor Mark Wahlberg, who stars in one of the season's modest hits, has his own journalism-centric explanation for the summer bloodbath.
"First and foremost, the media is targeting all these movies," the actor said in an interview. "There's intense scrutiny on us, way more than before."
But Wahlberg also spread the responsibility for the flops to the studios, who he said have concentrated too much on marketing and not enough on distinguishing their summer stories. "They are spending so much money to pull the wool over the audience's eyes with these effects-driven movies," he said. "It's not like 'Jurassic Park,' where you saw something groundbreaking and innovative and said 'Holy … I gotta see that. Every end-of-the-Earth movie kind of feels the same."
Of course, Wahlberg is currently shooting his own summer tent pole — Michael Bay's fourth "Transformers" movie, set for next June. He disagrees, though, that the film will sport the excessiveness that may have contributed to some of this year's disappointments.
"'Transformers' is a different thing. What Michael's been able to do is elevate the material and take the human element to a whole other place," he said. "Having the father-daughter relationship [that Wahlberg's character figures into] is so much more interesting."
Wahlberg said the action director also keeps a much tighter rein on costs than other tent-pole directors. "Michael Bay isn't going to be in a situation where a movie is $100 million over budget. I've never seen anyone that can manage the entire thing so single-handedly and seamlessly," he added.
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Wahlberg said he does want to make a small movie after he finishes "Transformers." He's slated to start shooting "Ted 2" in May (more on that in a separate post) and says he'd like to sneak in a movie before, "probably something on the serious side because I'll be coming off 'Transformers' and going into a comedy." He also has the Pete Berg adaptation of the bestseller "Lone Survivor" coming in January, which he has already completed.
As for that other "Lone" movie, the actor-producer has another reason why it was a financial debacle, and it's a lot more specific to that film.
The movie, he said, simply allowed its cost to outpace its concept. "They're spending $250 million for two dudes on a horse?" he said incredulously. "Where's the money going?'
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