Why the long face, Mr. Depp?
Perhaps because there’s no question “The Lone Ranger” is a catastrophe.
Produced for close to $250 million, the Johnny Depp-starring update of the old radio and television serial grossed a measly $29.4 million in its first three-day weekend (it took in $48.9 million since its July 3 premiere).
Analysts say Disney consequently could have to take a write-down of about $100 million on the flop.
But “The Lone Ranger” does not ride alone among the most embarrassing bombs of the 21st century.
Here’s our ranking of the Top 10 duds of the millennium, not counting “The Lone Ranger.” Be sure to take our poll at the end.
“Gigli.” Almost industry shorthand for commercial and critical ignominy, Sony’s Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy cost about $75 million and didn’t gross a tenth of that at the global box office in 2003, with total sales of just $7.3 million. Fun fact: After plummeting to a then-record 82% in its second weekend at the box office, “Gigli” was in just 73 theaters a week later.
“John Carter.” Another Disney debacle, last year’s $250-million fantasy adventure grossed just $73 million domestically but fared much better overseas, taking in $209 million in foreign markets. Still, Disney was forced to take a $200-million loss on the production. Fun fact: Star Taylor Kitsch had two fiascoes that year, including “Battleship.”
“Pluto Nash.” Eddie Murphy’s last 10 years have been dreadful, including the disasters “Meet Dave,” “Imagine That” and “A Thousand Words.” But his biggest failure was 2002’s $100-million “The Adventures of Pluto Nash,” which grossed just $7 million worldwide for Warner Bros. Fun fact: “Pluto Nash’s” debut couldn’t even beat the third weekend of Dana Carvey’s “Master of Disguise.”
“Mars Needs Moms.” Produced by Robert Zemeckis, Disney’s motion-capture adaptation of Berkeley Breathed’s children’s book cost about $150 million to make and sold just $38.9 million worldwide. Fun fact: The film’s ruinous performance contributed to Disney’s decision to shut down Zemeckis’ remake of “Yellow Submarine.”
“Sahara.” Directed by Breck Eisner, the son of former Disney chief Michael Eisner, and financed by billionaire Philip Anschutz for $160 million, Paramount’s 2005 release grossed a soft $119.3 million worldwide, losing Anschutz more than $100 million torpedoing a planned sequel. Fun fact: In a lawsuit over the film’s flop, novelist Clive Cussler said he tried to halt the film’s release.
“Speed Racer.” Directed by “Matrix” filmmakers Andy and Lana Wachowski, the 2008 Warner Bros. remake of the TV series cost a steep $120 million and grossed just $93.9 million worldwide. Fun fact: Producer Joel Silver was later shown the door by the studio, where he had produced the “Sherlock Holmes” hits.
“How Do You Know.” Sony’s James L. Brooks comedy/drama in 2010 cost a remarkable $120 million, yet grossed just $48.7 million worldwide. Fun fact: Sony was hit hard enough by Brooks’ bomb that it pulled the plug on Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” which will likely make a small profit for Warner Bros.
“After Earth.” The Church of Scientology insists this summer’s Will Smith sci-fi tale wasn’t a veiled evangelizing tool, and “After Earth” did better business for Sony (domestic gross: $58.4 million) than the real Scientology movie, 2000’s “Battlefield Earth” (domestic gross: $21.5 million). Fun fact: Even 2008’s organ donor story “Seven Pounds,” in which Smith kills himself, fared better at the ticket counter.
“Land of the Lost.” Costing more than $100 million, Universal’s Will Ferrell dinosaur dog took in just $68.8 million worldwide in 2009. Fun fact: It was among three of Universal’s underachievers that summer, a tally that included Adam Sandler’s “Funny People” and Russell Crowe’s “State of Play.”
“The Alamo.” Another Western from Disney, writer-director John Lee Hancock’s historical drama cost $107 million and grossed a weak $25.8 million worldwide in 2004. Fun fact: Hancock, who replaced Ron Howard as the film’s director, bounced back five years later with “The Blind Side,” which grossed more than $300 million worldwide.